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July 24, 2015

Little Sisters Appeals to Supreme Court on Contraceptive Rule

Catholic charity Little Sisters of the Poor will ask the Supreme Court to take up its claim that the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive-care mandate violates their religious liberty, reports the Associated Press.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled against the Colorado nuns' group last week, concluding that an accommodation for faith nonprofits instituted by the Obama administration sufficiently protects their rights of worship.

Four Oklahoma Christian colleges are also plaintiffs in the case, one of many filed by religious organizations challenging the rule. The White House workaround, under which the government or a third-party insurer supplies birth-control coverage for employees at nonprofits that state a religious objection to doing so, has been upheld in a series of federal court rulings. Plaintiffs contend the updated rule still makes them complicit in providing contraception, in violation of their faith.

In a New York Times opinion column, Linda Greenhouse, a Yale Law School lecturer and formerly the Times's Supreme Court reporter, critically assesses the recent decisions on the contraceptive rule, the legal basis for religious nonprofits' claims, and the likelihood of the Roberts court accepting them.