Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivered an eleventh-hour reprieve to the Little Sisters of the Poor and the Christian Brothers from having to provide contraceptive coverage to employees by January 1 or face stiff fines.
In the course of the past week, the U.S. Supreme Court opted not to review a challenge to Obamacare by the Virginia-based Liberty University, but has agreed to hear a pair of cases that challenge the federal government’s authority to force business owners to provide contraceptives — including those that can cause abortion — to their employees.
A federal court has rendered an important although partial victory in another case concerning Christian employers who believe the controversial birth control mandate places a substantial burden on the free exercise of their religion.
EWTN Global Catholic Network filed a new lawsuit on October 28 in Federal Court against the Department of Health & Human Services, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and other federal agencies seeking to stop the government from imposing the HHS contraception mandate as well as asking the court to find that it is unconstitutional. The State of Alabama, through its Attorney General Luther Strange, has joined EWTN as a co-plaintiff in the lawsuit.
Not only is the Archdiocese of Washington DC suing the federal government over its oppressive birth control mandate, but it is also accusing the Obama administration of engaging in a “conscious political strategy to marginalize and delegitimize” Catholic “religious views on contraception by holding them up for ridicule on the national stage.”
Court watchers are saying that two recent and opposing decisions by federal appeals courts on the controversial birth control mandate could bring the matter to the Supreme Court as early as their next term.
Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn of the U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Ala. issued an order March 25 dismissing EWTN’s lawsuit challenging the government mandate that employee healthcare plans must provide coverage for contraception, voluntary sterilization procedures and abortion-inducing drugs.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement yesterday afternoon informing the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that the Feb. 1 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking changes to the controversial birth control mandate falls short of addressing the Church’s concerns about the infringement of their conscience rights.
Philadelphia’s Archbishop Charles J. Chaput is asking the faithful to pray for him and his fellow bishops as they deliberate how to respond to another ambiguous compromise from the government concerning a coercive birth control mandate that aims to force religious employers to violate their consciences.