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Obama administration urges court to uphold HHS mandate against Little Sisters of the Poor

Catholic World News - January 03, 2014

The Obama administration has asked the US Supreme Court to deny an appeal by the Little Sisters of the Poor, and force the religious order to comply with the new federal mandate requiring insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Responding to an order from Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who had instructed the administration to explain why the HHS mandate should trump the religious-liberty claims of the women religious, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli repeated the administration’s contention that the HHS mandate does not require religious employers to provide contraceptive coverage. The coverage would be offered by a third-party insurer, if the nuns applied for a waiver, he explained.

"Applicants have no legal basis to challenge the self certification requirement or to complain that it involves them in the process of providing contraceptive coverage," the Justice Department argued in its January 3 filing.

The Little Sisters of the Poor have contested the administration’s argument, saying that it would be a violation of their religious beliefs to provide contraceptive coverage, or to apply for a waiver that would authorize others to supply that coverage.

The challenge to the HHS mandate brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor, in a case originating in Colorado, is one of many legal challenges to the law, which took legal effect on January 1. The Supreme Court has already accepted a challenge to the mandate brought by secular employers.

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  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Jan. 04, 2014 3:14 AM ET USA

    Barack Obama v. Little Sisters of the Poor. Has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Didn't his parents or grandparents teach him not to beat up on his little sisters?

  • Posted by: unum - Jan. 03, 2014 6:34 PM ET USA

    Secular progressives don't understand religion, much less freedom of religion, so debate and legislation are futile. This will end with a SCOTUS decision, and the U.S. will remain the land of the free or just another Europe. The SCOTUS decision will have monumental consequences!

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jan. 03, 2014 6:21 PM ET USA

    BUT, as the lawsuit contends, the LSP's have to sign their agreement to the provision of immoral procedures and meds, and that violates their first amendment rights. I am really impressed by the administration's eagerness to fight the Little Sisters of the Poor. What a headline! What stupidity.

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