The U.S. Supreme Court said Friday it will rule on Obamacare’s contraception mandate after multiple religious groups have taken issue with its mandate that they provide insurance coverage including contraception to employees. This is the fourth time a part of Obamacare will be evaluated by the court.
Hobby Lobby won a Supreme Court case last year that allowed businesses to opt out of providing certain contraceptives for religious reasons. The Obama administration hoped to appease religious groups by allowing them to submit an exemption form and allow a third party to provide it instead. But the groups have still taken issue with this and sued. Now the case is before the Supreme Court.
The groups say that are still involved in the process of providing the contraceptives by signing the form. They say the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protects them from having to violate their consciences by participating in providing contraception. RFRA law states that their must be a compelling government interest for violating religious beliefs and that it must be done in the least restrictive way possible, a tough burden for the government to prove.
Probably the most famous of the seven cases challenging the contraception mandate is Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who are fighting so they don’t have to participate in providing contraception to their employees.
“As Little Sisters of the Poor, we offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they are welcomed as Christ. We perform this loving ministry because of our faith and cannot possibly choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith, and we shouldn’t have to,” said Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor. “All we ask is that our rights not be taken away. The government exempts large corporations, small businesses, and other religious ministries from what they are imposing on us – we just want to keep serving the elderly poor as we have always done for 175 years. We look forward to the Supreme Court hearing our case, and pray for God’s protection of our ministry.”
“The Little Sisters spend their lives taking care of the elderly poor—that is work our government should applaud, not punish,” Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the Little Sisters of the Poor, said in a statement. “The Little Sisters should not have to fight their own government to get an exemption it has already given to thousands of other employers, including Exxon, Pepsi Cola Bottling Company, and Boeing. Nor should the government be allowed to say that the Sisters aren’t ‘religious enough’ to merit the exemption that churches and other religious ministries have received.”