Religion re-enters ObamaCare debate as Sotomayor delays contraceptive mandate



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ABSTRACTReligion re-enters ObamaCare debate as Sotomayor delays contraceptive mandate | Fox News Menu FoxNews.com Politics Search Search Sign in to comment! Politics Home Executive Senate House of Representatives Defense Judiciary Scandals Health care Religion re-enters ObamaCare debate as Sotomayor delays contraceptive mandate Published January 02, 2014 FoxNews.com Facebook 0 Twitter 0 LinkedIn 0   ADVERTISEMENT Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has put religion at the forefront of the ObamaCare debate by offering a reprieve to some Catholic groups who want to opt out of the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate. Sotomayor issued the order late Tuesday, one day before major parts of the health care law went into effect.  In her order, Sotomayor said the government is temporarily prevented from enforcing contraceptive coverage requirements against the Denver-based Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged and must respond by 10 a.m. Friday. The White House responded Wednesday, saying the group isn’t subject to the requirement because it doesn’t apply to self-funded church plans. The White House said the Justice Department has already made clear the mandate doesn’t apply to such organizations and that it defers to the agency on litigation matters. “But [we] remain confident that our final rules strike the balance of providing women with free contraceptive coverage while preventing non-profit religious employers with religious objections to contraceptive coverage from having to contract, arrange, pay, or refer for such coverage,” the White House said.  But Sotomayor's decision to delay the contraceptive portion of the law was joined by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which also issued an emergency stay for Catholic-affiliated groups challenging the contraceptive provision, including the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and Catholic University.  Separately, Lawyer Noel J. Francisco had said in appeals to Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Elena Kagan that the mandate would "expose numerous Catholic organizations to draconian fines unless they abandon their religious convictions and take actions that facilitate access to abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization for their employees and students." The law requires employers to provide insurance that covers a range of preventive care, free of charge, including contraception. The Catholic Church prohibits the use of contraceptives. The Supreme Court in 2012 upheld the constitutionality of the core of the Affordable Care Act, saying its insurance mandate and the tax penalty enforcing it fell within the power of Congress to impose taxes. The Obama administration crafted a compromise, or accommodation, that attempted to create a buffer for religiously affiliated hospitals, universities and social service groups that oppose birth control. The law requires insurers or the health plan's outside administrator to pay for birth control coverage and creates a way to reimburse them. That isn't enough, Francisco said. "In short, under the accommodation, applicants must authorize their third party administrators or insurance companies to provide the very products and services they find morally objectionable," he said. "Suffice it to say, the 'accommodation' does not resolve appl.......