In a major win for religious liberty, the Supreme Court ruled 7-2 on Wednesday that employers with moral or religious objections would be exempt from the federal mandate that requires company health insurance to cover birth control.
The case was a consolidation of The Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania and Trump v. Pennsylvania, both of which sought to alter the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (ACA). While the bill itself had no requirements for contraceptive access being guaranteed, this became mandatory through interim final rules (IFRs). While Churches have always been exempt from the ruling, other religious or religiously-affiliated organizations were not.
The Little Sisters of the Poor is a Roman Catholic religious order, who focus their ministry on charity; the sisters run homes for elderly people of low-income, and alongside the nuns, each home has an employed staff, to whom they provide health insurance. However, contraception is against the beliefs of the Catholic Church, and, as a religious order, the Little Sisters sought legal remedy to help keep them from being forced to pay for something in direct opposition to their religious convictions.
The Court’s decision overturned the Third Circuit Court’s conclusion that government departments (including Heath and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor) did not have the jurisdiction to allow any exceptions to the regulations forcing companies to provide birth control to their employees.