The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review seven cases including the one involving the nuns of the Catholic Little Sisters of the Poor about the accommodation mandate for contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.
The accommodation mandate allows religious employers to opt out in providing contraceptives to their employees but they have to fill in a form to signify their objection and send it to the federal government, which in turn, will ask the health care insurance to take over from the employers in providing the contraceptives to their employees.
"It is all well and good for HHS (Department of Health and Human Services) to think it has threaded the needle and found a way for religious nonprofits to comply with the mandate without violating their religious beliefs, but ultimately it is for the religious adherent to determine how much facilitation or complicity is too much," the Little Sisters told the Supreme Court in a brief, according to the National Journal.
Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor, said, "All we ask is that our rights not be taken away. The government exempts large corporations, small businesses, and other religious ministries from what they are imposing on us—we just want to keep serving the elderly poor as we have always done for 175 years. We look forward to the Supreme Court hearing our case, and pray for God's protection of our ministry."
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, CNN reported, earlier ruled that "compelling the participation" of religious non-profits to take part in the mandate process "by threat of severe monetary penalty" was a substantial burden on their exercise of religion, according to WND.
The Becket Fund, which is representing the nuns, said the Little Sisters is facing millions in Internal Revenue Service fines because it cannot include contraceptives in their employee health plan.
The U.S. Supreme Court has consolidated the cases involving the Houston Baptist and East Texas Baptist Universities, Priests for Life, South Nazarene University, Geneva College, Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington and Zubik.
"The Becket Fund is grateful that the Supreme Court has decided to weigh in on this important case," said Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. "The Little Sisters spend their lives taking care of the elderly poor—that is work our government should applaud, not punish."