The religious nonprofits challenging their participation in the contraceptive mandate under the ACA agreed with a U.S. Supreme Court proposal to provide coverage under an alternative plan.
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
In a filing Thursday with the U.S. Supreme Court, the Little Sisters of the Poor have asked the court for relief from being forced to comply with the federal contraceptive mandate or face heavy fines.
The sisters are being asked to choose between adhering to their Catholic faith -- which prohibits them from providing contraceptives -- and continuing to pursue their religious mission of serving the elderly poor, said Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire, mother provincial of the order.
At the heart of the decision against the Little Sisters of the Poor was a disagreement what constituted a violation of religious liberty.
The Supreme Court on Monday ordered the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its previous ruling and review -- in light of the June Hobby Lobby decision -- whether the University of Notre Dame must pay for coverage of contraceptives in employee and student health insurance plans.
The Supreme Court on June 30 said Hobby Lobby, a chain of arts and crafts stores, and Conestoga Wood Specialties, which also sued, need not comply with a federal mandate to include a full range of contraceptives in employee health insurance.
A federal judge in Florida has granted Ave Maria University's motion for a preliminary injunction to keep the Catholic university from being forced to follow the latest procedures that nonexempt religious employers must use to opt out of the contraceptive mandate.
The ruling Tuesday from Judge James S. Moody of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida came as Ave Maria was days away from having to pay fines to the government for noncompliance.
Late last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a new round of modifications to a federal mandate requiring employers to provide contraceptive care to employees under the Affordable Care Act.
In keeping with modifications past (this is the eighth), the new rules have triggered yet another dustup in the ongoing fight between religious liberty advocates and the Obama administration, even as their effects remain unclear.
The Obama administration has once again modified the rules on employers and workers' access to free contraception but religious voices are no happier.
We say: Perhaps it is only through future cases that the country will learn whether this ruling is narrow or "a decision of startling breadth."
A federal appeals court has issued a temporary injunction protecting the Eternal Word Television Network from having to comply with the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate.
"As we have said repeatedly, contraception, abortion-inducing drugs and voluntary sterilization are not health care and the government should not force EWTN to provide them as part of our employer-sponsored health plan," said Michael Warsaw, chairman and CEO of EWTN Global Catholic Network, based in Irondale, a suburb of Birmingham, Ala.