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Supreme Court grants injunction against contraception mandate for religious groups

Late yesterday, Dec. 31, the Supreme Court granted a temporary injunction to the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious groups protecting them from the controversial Health and Human Services contraceptive mandate that is part of the Affordable Care Act.  The injunction came just hours before the Affordable Care Act was to take effect.

Video: Meet the Little Sisters of the Poor

The controversial mandate requires employers to provide contraceptives and other abortion-inducing drugs, which the Catholic Church finds morally objectionable, to their employees.

The order was issued by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is the justice assigned for emergency applications from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.  Sotomayor gave the federal government until Jan. 3, to respond to the nuns’ application. The Little Sisters of the Poor run Mullen Home for the Aged in Denver.

Prior to the order, preliminary injunctions had been awarded in 18 of the 20 similar cases in which relief had been requested.

“We are delighted that the Supreme Court has issued this order protecting the Little Sisters,” Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund who filed the lawsuit on behalf of the nuns, said in a statement.  “The government has lots of ways to deliver contraceptives to people–it doesn’t need to force nuns to participate.

“Virtually every other party who asked for protection from the mandate has been given it,” said Rienzi.  “It makes no sense for the Little Sisters to be singled out for fines and punishment before they can even finish their suit.”

Currently, there are 91 lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate. The Becket Fund represents: Hobby Lobby, Little Sisters of the Poor, Guidestone, Wheaton College, East Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist University, Colorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television Network, Ave Maria University, and Belmont Abbey College.

Roxanne King
Roxanne King is the former editor of the Denver Catholic Register and a freelance writer in the Denver area.
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