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Supreme Court exempts nuns from Obamacare birth control mandate while case is fought

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A Catholic organization won’t have to comply with the Obamacare contraception mandate until a final decision has been made on the case, the Supreme Court announced Friday.

The entire court extended a temporary injunction put in place on December 31 by Justice Sonia Sotomayor that allowed the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Colorado convent and charity, to forgo filling out contraception mandate paperwork while their case against the Obama administration is ongoing.

Sotomayor’s initial injunction, which garnered her accusations of being part of a Catholic, anti-women’s rights conspiracy from some on the left, would have lasted just until the federal appeals court, which is now reviewing the case, makes a decision. Now the Little Sisters will be free from the mandate at least until a final decision is made.

The Obama administration’s supposed work-around for religious nonprofits requires the organization to fill out government paperwork announcing their religious opposition to providing contraceptive coverage and other medical devices and procedures and authorizing a third-party administrator to provide the coverage in their place.

The Little Sisters and their lawyers are arguing that signing the certification form would violate their religious objection to birth control, sterilization, and other drugs and devices by condoning the health benefits administrators’ coverage of the controversial products.

Instead of signing the document, the Court said the Little Sisters must inform the Department of Health and Human Services in writing of their objection to the coverage and the non-profit’s religious identity.

The nuns’ legal representation, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, has touted the extended injunction as a stunning success.

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

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