Nuns Take Obamacare Opposition To U.S. Supreme Court

November 6, 2015

Denver's Little Sisters of the Poor, part of a national order of nuns, will be able to argue its opposition to federal contraception coverage rules at the U.S. Supreme Court. The Justices announced Friday they will hear the case.

NPR's Nina Totenberg reminds:

Under the Affordable Care Act, houses of worship are not required to provide birth-control coverage for their employees. But religious non-profits that run universities, hospitals, charities, and the like, are not exempt unless they notify the government that they are opting out of providing birth-control insurance coverage on religious grounds.

That opt-out notification allows the government to make arrangements with insurance companies to then offer the coverage independently, at no cost, to employees and students who do not subscribe to the same beliefs on birth control.

A variety of religious organizations, most of them Catholic, have challenged the opt-out notification, contending that it burdens their faith by activating substitute coverage.

The Little Sisters of the Poor are among the objectors.

Mark Rienzi with the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, represents the nuns. "What the sisters have simply said is, they can’t help the government with its contraceptive delivery system," he said.

Lower courts took the Obama administration’s side. It argues that its approach to covering contraception for the nuns’ employees doesn’t violate the order’s religious liberty.

Oral arguments will likely take place early next spring.

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