Politics

SCOTUS Rules In Favor Of Catholic Nuns, Upholds Conscience Exemptions For Birth Control Mandate

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Mary Margaret Olohan Social Issues Reporter
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The United States Supreme Court ruled to uphold conscience exemptions from former President Barack Obama’s birth control mandate in a victory for the Little Sisters of the Poor.

SCOTUS ruled 7-2 that the Catholic nuns are exempt from Obama’s contraceptive mandate. (RELATED: Little Sisters Of The Poor Battle Democratic AGs Over Birth Control Mandate)

“For over 150 years, the Little Sisters have engaged in faithful service and sacrifice, motivated by a religious calling to surrender all for the sake of their brother,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in his opinion. “But for the past seven years, they—like many other religious objectors who have participated in the litigation and rulemakings leading up to today’s decision— have had to fight for the ability to continue in their noble work without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

“After two decisions from this Court and multiple failed regulatory attempts, the Federal Government has arrived at a solution that exempts the Little Sisters from the source of their complicity-based concerns—the administratively imposed contraceptive mandate.”

He continued: “We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. We further hold that the rules promulgating these exemptions are free from procedural defects. Therefore, we reverse the judgment of the Court of Appeals and remand the cases for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.”

The pro-life Susan B. Anthony List celebrated news of the decision in a Wednesday statement, calling the decision a “major victory” for President Donald Trump.

“We hope today’s victory at the Supreme Court will finally allow the Little Sisters to carry out their mission to love and serve the elderly poor without having to violate their conscience,” said SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. “The Sisters, along with other religious and moral objectors who conscientiously object to abortion, should never be forced to go against their consciences to provide abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans.”

She continued: “We commend President Trump for standing strong for the Little Sisters of the Poor – his record stands in stark contrast to that of Joe Biden, who helped launch this assault as Obama’s Vice President nearly a decade ago.”

The D.C. based conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation, also applauded the decision.

“The Supreme Court was right to, in the face of outrageous legal challenges from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, allow the Trump administration to protect the freedom of these religious nuns and so many other religiously affiliated groups,” said Heritage senior research fellow Ryan T. Anderson.

“This case stemmed from mandates that the Obama administration promulgated that put unreasonable demands on employers to cover potentially life-ending drugs, contraception, and sterilization. Hopefully, this brings an eight-year ordeal for the Little Sisters of the Poor to a close and they can focus entirely on ministering to the poor in our communities.”

But progressive groups like the American Civil Liberties Union reacted to news of the ruling with condemnation.

“BREAKING: The Supreme Court just sided with the Trump administration, ruling your employer or university can deny you birth control coverage based on a religious or moral objection,” the ACLU tweeted. “We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Religious liberty is not a license to discriminate.”

Former Planned Parenthood president Cecil Richards also lamented the decision, tweeting: “Today’s #SCOTUS birth control decision is an unfortunate development in the fight for reproductive rights for all. It only serves to reinforce the reality that this administration has done everything they can to eliminate health care access, particularly for women.”

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