White House: Religious Concerns Are Addressed In Contraceptive Mandate

By: Associated Press News Email
By: Associated Press News Email

News Release: Associated Press News

Updated: January 1, 2014, 2:30pm

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says it's confident that the rules requiring free contraceptive coverage under the new health law also address the objections of religious organizations.

The statement comes a day after Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporarily blocked the contraceptive requirement from taking effect at the request of an organization of Catholic nuns in Denver.

Government officials now have until 10 a.m., Eastern time, on Friday to respond to the order. A decision on whether to make the temporary injunction permanent or dissolve it will probably not be made before then.

Under the health care law, most insurance plans have to cover contraceptives as preventive care for women. That means the coverage is provided free of charge. Churches are exempt, but affiliated institutions that serve the general public are not.

An outcry from religious groups led the administration to craft a compromise. Insurers or health plan administrators must provide the coverage, and the religious institution itself isn't responsible. But that didn't satisfy some critics. And Catholic-affiliated groups from around the nation went to court in hopes of delaying the requirements.

At least one federal appeals court issued its own stay.

News Release: Associated Press News

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Supreme Court justice has blocked implementation of portions of President Barack Obama's health care law that would have forced some religion-affiliated organizations to provide health insurance for employees that includes coverage for birth control.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor's decision came Tuesday night after a different effort by Catholic-affiliated groups from around the nation. Those groups rushed to the federal courts to stop Wednesday's start of portions of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

Sotomayor acted on a request from an order of Catholic nuns in Colorado, whose request for a stay had been denied by the lower courts.

Sotomayor is giving the government until Friday morning to respond to her decision.

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