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Supreme Court Sends Little Sisters’ Case Back to Lower Courts


CNA

Source:
Nat. Cath. Register
Type:
Media/Opinion
Date:
5/16/2016

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ABSTRACTSupreme Court Sends Little Sisters’ Case Back to Lower Courts | Daily News | NCRegister.com Print Edition:  May 15, 2016 Sign-up for our E-newsletter!   Donate News Blogs Radio Events Resources Advertise Store Subscriptions Make This My Homepage Resources Archives Jobs College Guide Arts & Entertainment Books Commentary Culture of Life Education In Person News Opinion Sunday Guides Travel Vatican Dan Burke Jeanette DeMelo Edward Pentin Mark Shea Matthew Warner Jimmy Akin Matthew Archbold Joan Frawley Desmond Simcha Fisher Tito Edwards Jennifer Fulwiler Steven D. Greydanus Tom Wehner Our Latest Show About the Show About the Register Donate Subscribe Stations Schedule Other EWTN Shows Subscribe Discounted Bulk Subscriptions Give a Gift Subscription Renew Your Subscription Renew Your Gift Subscription Change of Address Missed Issues Payments Account Status General Customer Service Daily or Weekly E-newsletter Print Article | Email Article | Write To Us Daily News Daily News Supreme Court Sends Little Sisters’ Case Back to Lower Courts (3713) The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Little Sisters of the Poor, called the ruling an ‘important win.’ Tweet by CATHOLIC NEWS AGENCY 05/16/2016 Comments (7) Pope Francis visits the Little Sisters of the Poor in Washington on Sept. 23, 2015. – Courtesy of the Little Sisters of the Poor WASHINGTON — In a unanimous May 16 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has sent back to the lower courts a challenge to the federal contraception mandate raised by the Little Sisters of the Poor. The lawsuit involves the Department of Health and Human Services’ federal contraception mandate, which requires employers to provide contraception and drugs that can produce abortions in employee health plans. While the government has offered an exemption to many corporations, it has no exemption for the Little Sisters of the Poor, who help run houses to care for the elderly poor. “The Supreme Court on Monday gave the Obama administration a final chance to work out a compromise with religious groups opposed to the birth-control mandate under the Affordable Care Act,” The Hill reported , adding that “the justices unanimously instructed both parties to find a tweak to the contraceptive mandate to eliminate any faith-based concerns ‘while still ensuring that the affected women receive contraceptive coverage seamlessly.’” The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty , which filed the lawsuit on behalf of Little Sisters of the Poor, called the ruling an “important win.” “We are very encouraged by the court’s decision, which is an important win for the Little Sisters. The court has recognized that the government changed its position,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead attorney for the Little Sisters of the Poor. “It is crucial that the justices unanimously ordered the government not to impose these fines and indicated that the government doesn’t need any notice to figure out what should now be obvious: The Little Sisters respectfully object,” he continued. Religious charities including the Little Sisters of the Poor had sued the federal government, saying that they were being coerced, under threat of heavy fines, to violate their consciences. They said that despite revisions, the Obama administration’s federal contraception mandate requires them to cooperate in actions they believe to be immoral. The mandate began as part of the Affordable Care Act, which required coverage for preventative care in employee health plans. The Department of Health and Human Services, in its regulations released after the law was passed, interpreted this to require employer coverage for contraceptives, sterilizations and drugs that can cause abortions. Churches and their immediate affiliates, like schools and parish groups, were exempt from the mandate, but religious nonprofits, charities and universities were not. Some large corporations were exempt from the mandate because their health plans that existed before the health-care law took effect were “grandfathered” into its regulations. Heavy fines are the punishment for not complying with the mandate. Many religious institutions object to complying with the mandate, saying they are being forced to violate their consciences by providing coverage for practices they believe are immoral. They are being coerced to cooperate in such acts, they said. After the mandate was issued, the government offered an “accommodation” to objecting parties: They could notify the government of their religious objection, and it would then direct their insurers to provide the mandated coverage free of charge. The government argued that contraception can be offered without cost because it reduces later costs associated with births and provides “tr.......