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June 30, 2015

High Court Delays Contraceptive Rule for Some Faith Groups

The Supreme Court issued an order Monday barring the Obama administration from enforcing the Affordable Care Act's birth-control mandate on certain religious nonprofits until it decides whether to hear the groups' appeal, reports The New York Times. Plaintiffs in the case, Zubik v. Burwell, argue that the requirement that employee health plans include contraceptive coverage forces them to violate their religious beliefs.

Under an accommodation the White House implemented last year, third parties pay for and provide such coverage at religious nonprofits that file a written objection to doing to. Pittsburgh's Roman Catholic bishop, the Most Rev. David A. Zubik, and Catholic Charities of Pittsburgh contend the workaround still forces them to facilitate the provision of contraceptives.

The Third Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Philadelphia found for the government in February, ruling that with the accommodation there is "no substantial burden" on faith groups' religious liberty. In recent months the administration has won a string of federal court decisions upholding the mandate as currently constructed.