A federal appeals court on Tuesday handed the Obama administration a victory in its effort to guarantee coverage of contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), rejecting a challenge by the Little Sisters of the Poor.
The Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in Denver found that the nuns, who run care homes, could opt out of a requirement to provide contraceptive coverage under an “accommodation” devised by the administration.
The court rejected the sisters’ assertion that this arrangement was in violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
If a religious organisation opts out, by reporting its objections and providing information about its health plan, the Government can use that information to try to arrange contraceptive coverage for its employees. But the nuns argued that this arrangement would make them “complicit” in the delivery of contraceptives.
Sr Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor, said: “We simply cannot choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith … For over 175 years, we have served the neediest in society with love and dignity. All we ask is to be able to continue our religious vocation free from government intrusion.”