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Lawyer: Obama administration emails show no interest in religious-freedom claims on contraceptive mandate

January 11, 2016

The Obama administration planned carefully to include Catholic groups under the “Obamacare” contraceptive mandate while muting official Catholic opposition, according to an attorney who has filed an amicus brief in a crucial challenge to that mandate.

Carrie Severino prepared a brief for the Zubik v. Burwell case, in which the Little Sisters of the Poor (among others) challenge the contraceptive mandate. Writing for National Review, she explains how the Obama administration carefully crafted the health-care regulations to provide exemption for the US bishops’ conference, but not for Catholic hospitals, schools, and other institutions. Relying on internal administration emails, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, she demonstrates that the regulations finally issued by the Obama administration, purportedly to satisfy concerns about religious freedom, actually had “exactly zero relevance to religious-freedom interests.”

Severino argues:

These documents are fatal to the Administration’s claim that structuring the contraceptive mandate this way was an effort to respect the religious groups’ religious objections. In fact, it was an arbitrary choice that failed to take into account the virtually identical religious freedom interests shared by groups granted and denied an exemption from the mandate.

In a related story, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has invited leaders of the Little Sisters of the Poor to attend President Obama’s State of the Union address, among other “front-line poverty fighters.”


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  • Posted by: jalsardl5053 - Jan. 11, 2016 6:43 PM ET USA

    Well now isn't that a surprise cough, cough. What I fail to understand is why the "Supreme" Court doesn't make short shrift of it all: the government shall not interfere with religious conviction PERIOD and everyone from the caregiver to bakers has that right PERIOD.