The US Supreme Court has ruled that religious organisations cannot be forced to provide abortion-inducing drugs as part of their health insurance.
It upheld a Federal Government policy that prevents Little Sisters of the Poor, a Roman Catholic group which provides care for the elderly, from being forced to pay for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs as part of its healthcare plan.
The Affordable Care Act – also known as Obamacare – which mandates such cover, only provides exemptions for churches. The ruling upholds a Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) policy which extended these protections to all organisations with a religious or moral objection to abortion.
The Supreme Court’s decision reversed a lower court’s ruling against the extended protections last year.
Justice Clarence Thomas, on behalf of the court’s majority, said that for the past seven years, Little Sisters of the Poor has had “to fight for the ability to continue in their noble work without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs” because of the Affordable Care Act.
Religious liberty group Alliance Defending Freedom, welcomed the ruling, saying: “The government has no business forcing pro-life and religious organizations to provide drugs and devices that can destroy life.”
In 2018, a US Christian college won a five-year legal battle for the right to not provide health insurance which covers abortion-inducing drugs. Its case also centred on the Affordable Care Act.
President of Wheaton College, Philip Ryken, said: “We are grateful to God that the court recognised Wheaton’s religious identity and protected our ability to affirm the sanctity of human life.
“The government should never have tried to force us to provide drugs and services against our faith, and we are pleased by the resolution of our case.”