Thursday, January 2, 2014

Sotomayor Temporarily Halts HHS Mandate for Little Sisters of the Poor

by Kim Trobee, CitizenLink: Religious freedom and Obamacare crossed paths again this week when Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor blocked enforcement of a contraception mandate for a Roman Catholic organization dedicated to serving the elderly poor. The mandate will be on hold for the group until Friday morning.

The Obama administration required nonprofits — many of which are faith-based — to comply with the Health and Human Services mandate by Jan. 1. The mandate forces organizations to offer potential abortion-inducing drugs in their employee health plans. For-profit businesses had to comply by August 2012.

“We are delighted that the Supreme Court has issued this order protecting the Little Sisters of the Poor,” said Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. “The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people — it doesn’t need to force nuns to participate.” Little Sisters is an international organization headquartered in Maryland. Its Denver location filed suit against the mandate in September. Sotomayor’s decision halts the mandate for the entire organization.

The White House responded to the decision:

But [we] remain confident that our final rules strike 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.

Bruce Hausknecht, legal analyst for Focus on the Family, said it’s easy to read between the lines.

“What it means is that President Obama is comfortable with telling nuns that they must be participants in actions that violate their most deeply held religious beliefs,” he said. “It means that the administration has declared itself the ultimate judge of what and who is religious enough to be entitled to the freedom of religion. It means that in order to accomplish the dubious goal of providing free contraceptives to women, the president would rather force religious non-profits to close rather than find a simpler alternative.”

The government has until Friday morning at 10 a.m. ET to respond to the emergency stay.

Hausknecht said the mandate vilifies those with conservative values.

“This administration will go out of its way to force people and institutions of faith to compromise their principles or be forced out of participation in society,” Hausknecht said. “That’s tyranny.”

Little Sisters is an international organization headquartered in Maryland. Its Denver location filed suit against the mandate in September. Sotomayor’s decision halts the mandate for the entire organization.

The White House responded to the decision:

But [we] remain confident that our final rules strike 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.Bruce Hausknecht, legal analyst for Focus on the Family, said it’s easy to read between the lines.

“What it means is that President Obama is comfortable with telling nuns that they must be participants in actions that violate their most deeply held religious beliefs,” he said. “It means that the administration has declared itself the ultimate judge of what and who is religious enough to be entitled to the freedom of religion. It means that in order to accomplish the dubious goal of providing free contraceptives to women, the president would rather force religious non-profits to close rather than find a simpler alternative.”

The government has until Friday morning at 10 a.m. ET to respond to the emergency stay.

Hausknecht said the mandate vilifies those with conservative values.

“This administration will go out of its way to force people and institutions of faith to compromise their principles or be forced out of participation in society,” Hausknecht said. “That’s tyranny.” . . . [Read More: Take Action]

Tags: SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Little Sisters of the Poor, blocked enforcement, contraception mandate, Obamacare To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the Greater Fitchburg For Life. Thanks!

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