U.S. Supreme Court Sought For A Compromise
Some members of the religious community continue to have issues with the Affordable Care Act. Consequently, the matter was brought before the U.S. Supreme Court for the fourth time.
The cases filed included that of the Little Sisters of the Poor which sought test whether religiously-affiliated employers such as charities, hospitals, and universities must file a form or write a letter to get out of offering free coverage for birth control.
The groups contend that even that level of involvement violates their religious beliefs.
The Roman Catholic nuns are contending that any form of contraception is a sin and though the sisters do not have to directly provide contraception coverage to their employees they still have to make coverage available through a third party.
They have to fill out and submit a government form identifying the insurance carrier and contact information. If that’s too much, even a simple letter with the same information will do. It is an accommodation, but one the sisters reject.
The Supreme Court, however, sought for a compromise in its recent hearing that would allow for religious non-profit groups to avoid any involvement in offering insurance coverage for contraceptives while also ensuring that employees get the coverage.
“The parties are directed to address whether contraceptive coverage could be provided to petitioners’ employees, through petitioners’ insurance companies, without any such notice from petitioners,” the order read.
“This is an excellent development. Clearly the Supreme Court understood the Sisters’ concern that the government’s current scheme forces them to violate their religion,” said Mark Rienzi, lead attorney for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty in a report.
“We look forward to offering alternatives that protect the Little Sisters’ religious liberty while allowing the government to meet its stated goals,” he added.
It is believed that if the compromise floated by the high court provides enough cover for the non-profits, it also would mean a victory for the government and advocates of reproductive rights because workers would get free coverage once the regulation is revised.
Yvad Billings, Readers Bureau, Fellow
Edited by Jesus Chan
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