A US Supreme Court judge has given Roman Catholic groups a temporary exemption from a mandate in the Obamacare law which forces employers to authorise third parties to provide drugs and devices that cause abortions, plus contraception.
Under Obamacare, churches are excluded from the ‘contraception’ mandate, which requires employers to provide insurance policies covering contraception and abortifacients.
But religious charities only have an accommodation, which means they must sign forms directing others to provide them.
Roman Catholic charity Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged in Colorado argued that this accommodation violates their religious rights.
Last week Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor issued an order, temporarily preventing the Government from enforcing the ‘contraception’ mandate when the Obamacare law came into effect on New Year’s Day.
The Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged are supported by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.
Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund, said: “We are delighted that the Supreme Court has issued this order protecting the Little Sisters”.
“The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people–it doesn’t need to force nuns to participate”, he added.
Another lawyer, Noel Francisco, said separately that the contraception mandate would result in Roman Catholic charities having “draconian fines” unless they “abandon their religious convictions”.
“In short, under the accommodation, applicants must authorise their third party administrators or insurance companies to provide the very products and services they find morally objectionable”, he added.
The White House have said the law strikes 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”.
Nearly 100 organisations with an evangelical or Roman Catholic ethos have filed lawsuits challenging the ‘contraception’ mandate, including Christian universities, which have no exemption under the law.