Supreme Court Extends Injunction for Catholic Nuns Against Obamacare Contraceptive Mandate

January 24, 2014 - 7:20 PM

supreme court

Supreme Court justices. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – The U.S. Supreme Court today issued an injunction protecting the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns who help the elderly and infirm, from having to comply with the Obamacare mandate on contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs until their case is fully heard at the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The injunction was issued by the entire Supreme Court although Justice Sonia Sotomayor is mentioned by name because she is the point person for emergency requests from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. (See Little-Sisters-v-Sebelius-Order1.pdf)

"The injunction means that the Little Sisters will not be forced to sign and deliver the controversial government forms authorizing and instructing their benefits administrator to provide contraceptives, sterilization, and drugs and devices that may cause early abortions," said the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, representing the Sisters, in a statement.

"The court's order also provides protection to more than 400 other Catholic organizations that receive health benefits through the same Catholic benefits provider, Christian Brothers," said the Becket Fund.

little sisters

A nun of the Little Sisters of the Poor assisting an elderly woman. (AP)

All the Little Sisters of the Poor need do is inform the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, “in writing that they are non-profit organizations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services,” reads the injunction.

The order further says, “To meet the condition for injunction pending appeal, applicants need not use the form prescribed by the Government and need not send copies to third-party administrators.” (See Little-Sisters-v-Sebelius-Order1.pdf)

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

President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

President Barack Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. (AP Photo/Ron Edmonds)

As the Becket Fund explains in its statement, “The Little Sisters are joined in the lawsuit by religious health benefit providers, Christian Brothers Services, Christian Brothers Employee Benefits Trust.  The lawsuit is a class action on behalf of all the non-exempt organizations that receive benefits through Christian Brothers. The Plaintiffs are also represented by Locke Lord, a national law firm, and by Kevin Walsh, a law professor at the University of Richmond.”

“To date, there are currently 91 lawsuits challenging the unconstitutional HHS mandate,” reads the statement.

The mandate requires nearly all Americans -- businesses and individuals -- to carry health insurance that offers contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs without co-payments, regardless of potential religious objections.

The Little Sister of the Poor vs. HHS and Kathleen Sebelius essentially says that to force the Sisters to subsidize such services is a violation of their faith and religious liberty protections under the First Amendment.

“The Becket Fund represents: Hobby LobbyLittle Sisters of the PoorGuideStoneWheaton CollegeEast Texas Baptist University, Houston Baptist UniversityColorado Christian University, the Eternal Word Television NetworkAve Maria University, and Belmont Abbey College.”