The United States Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a religious organisation which does not want to provide abortion drugs as part of its healthcare.
In a unanimous decision, the country’s highest court erased all previous lower court rulings against the Little Sisters of the Poor – a Roman Catholic group which provides care for the elderly.
The move provides hope for other religious organisations that do not wish to facilitate abortion when providing healthcare for their employees.
Commenting on the win, the Daily Signal said: “This is a victory, not only for the Little Sisters, but for all individuals and organizations who step outside the four walls of a house of worship to serve the poor, heal the sick, or educate the next generation.”
The Little Sisters of the Poor objected to a requirement in the Affordable Care Act, which meant they could not avoid authorising the provision of abortifacient drugs in the healthcare plans of their employees.
Failure to conform with the demands would have resulted in $70 million worth of fines being imposed every year.
In light of the Supreme Court’s ruling, the authorities will not be able to force the Little Sisters of the Poor, and organisations like them, to choose between violating their conscience or being heavily penalised.
Decisions against them by lower state courts have been erased and the flawed reasoning used in them cannot be used as precedent in the future.
The Supreme Court has also ordered the lower courts to give the Little Sisters “an opportunity to arrive at an approach going forward that accommodates petitioners’ religious exercise”.