Obama administration stands by contraception rule

January 6, 2014
Obama administration stands by contraception rule

(HealthDay)—The Obama administration on Friday contested U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's decision temporarily exempting an order of Catholic nuns from the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate.

Under the health-reform law, most employer health plans are required to cover U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved birth control at no out-of-pocket cost to employees. Large employers face a potential tax if they do not comply. However, the Obama administration has established an exemption for group health plans offered by a "religious employer."

The Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, a Denver-based order of Catholic nuns that runs nursing homes for the elderly, argued that it should not be forced to participate in the mandate in any way. Sotomayor's last-minute order, issued just before the Jan. 1 coverage requirement took effect, temporarily prevents the administration from enforcing the mandate. Responding to the order, the U.S. Justice Department said the nuns' request for relief should be denied because it isn't "necessary or appropriate."

"In particular, with the stroke of their own pen, the applicants can secure for themselves the relief they seek from this Court—an exemption from the requirements of the contraception coverage provision," the department stated. In other words, to gain an exemption, the nuns need only sign a "certification form" expressing their religious objection to contraceptive coverage, U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli explained in court papers.

Mark Rienzi, the Little Sisters' lead counsel and senior counsel for The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in Washington, D.C., blasted the Obama administration's position. "The government demands that the Little Sisters of the Poor sign a permission slip for abortion drugs and contraceptives, or pay millions in fines," he said in a statement issued Friday. "The Sisters believe that doing that violates their faith, and that they shouldn't be forced to divert funds from the poor elderly and dying people they've devoted their lives to serve."

More information: Full Article

Related Stories

Supreme Court to take up birth control religion case

November 26, 2013

The US Supreme Court said Tuesday it will take up a case involving a firm seeking to limit the availability of birth control to female employees enrolled in a company health plan on religious grounds.

Injunction granted in US birth control lawsuit

December 21, 2013

A U.S. judge granted an injunction Friday that prohibits the government from enforcing the federal health care law's requirement that insurance coverage include access to the morning-after pill and similar contraceptives ...

US, religious groups debate birth control coverage

January 3, 2014

(AP)—The Obama administration on Friday urged a Supreme Court justice to stop blocking the new health care law's requirement that some religious-affiliated groups provide health insurance that includes birth control.

Recommended for you

New weapon in the fight against malnutrition

August 4, 2015

UBC scientists have opened the doors to new research into malnutrition by creating an animal model that replicates the imbalance of gut bacteria associated with the difficult-to-treat disease.

Can four fish oil pills a day keep the doctor away?

July 7, 2015

Fish oil is one of the most popular dietary supplements in the U.S. because of the perceived cardiovascular benefits of the omega-3 it contains. However, scientific findings on its effectiveness have been conflicting. New ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.