Sotomayor Grants Temporary Birth Control Reprieve for Catholic Groups

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Image Credit: Colleen Casey

Image Credit: Colleen Casey

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a temporary reprieve to the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate to certain Catholic groups just before the new year. The implications of her decision are narrow and it will be in operation “pending the receipt of a response and further order of the undersigned or of the Court.” That response, by the federal government, is due Friday by 10 a.m.

Sotomayor’s stay involved the case Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, Denver, Colorado, A Colorado Non-Profit Corporation, et al v. Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, et al. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty represents the plaintiffs, who include not only the Little Sisters organization in Colorado but a Baltimore-based branch, as well, and the Christian Brothers Employee benefit trust.

In documents filed with the court, the plaintiffs explain it “is a class action lawsuit on behalf of Catholic employers who participate in the Christian Brothers Employee Benefit Trust.” The employers who fall under that umbrella “are forbidden by their religion from participating in the federal government’s regulatory scheme to promote, encourage, and subsidize the use of sterilization, contraceptives, and drugs that cause abortions.”

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