Amid all the bad news kicking off the new year, there’s at least one bit of welcome change.
Out of the blue on Tuesday, President Obama’s appointee to the Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor blocked the Administration from forcing some religion-affiliated groups to provide employees with health insurance that includes coverage for contraception and abortion-inducing drugs.
The decision comes at the request of the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Colorado nuns, and applies to other Roman Catholic groups that use the same health plan, the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust.
The nuns’ case is just one of dozens suing the Administration for violation of religious freedom over its requirement that all employers providing health insurance include coverage for contraception and abortion.
The contraception mandate is set to go into effect today, and employers that do not comply face hefty fines.
Sotomayor also required the Obama Administration to respond to her stay by Friday.
“We are delighted that the Supreme Court will require the government to file briefs in the court on this matter,” said Mark L. Rienzi, a lawyer at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, who represents the nuns.
The Little Sisters of the Poor run nursing homes for poor people in the U.S. and other countries.
The Obama Administration has angered many church leaders with a law that they see as violating religious freedom that is protected by the First Amendment.
In addition, many corporations and small businesses have fought the mandate because it violates the religious morals of the owners.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a pair of cases involving corporations and the Obamacare mandate.
In addition to ordinary contraception, the law requires coverage for Plan B and other abortifacents. The Administration made a pretense of compromising with religious nonprofits by allowing such coverage to be optional and not paid for by the employers, but the employers would still have to offer it.
Sotomayor stepped in to help the nuns after a lower court earlier in the day refused their request for an injunction.
The Justice Department claims that because of the so-called compromise, the mandate does not violate religious rights.
The Becket Fund stated in its arguments, “the ‘accommodation’ still forces the Little Sisters to find an insurer who will cover sterilization, contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs and devices. … The Sisters would also be required to sign a form that triggers the start of that coverage. In good conscience, they cannot do that. So the ‘accommodation’ still violates their religious beliefs.”
The Obama Administration, no friend to traditional religious values, is a huge proponent of abortion and various means of population control. It has been trying to steamroll religious organizations with its socialized healthcare for several years.
Ultimately, the winner of the battle over the Obamacare mandate may be critical in determining whether we still live in a country that protects human rights or if America becomes just another Third World backwater where there are no rights except those determined by the political favors of those in power.