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SCOTUS: Religious orgs can opt out of birth control coverage for employees

In a 7-2 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court handed former President Barack Obama another setback on Obamacare at the hands of the Catholic order of nuns, Little Sisters of the Poor.

Obamacare mandated that even religious organizations like Little Sisters of the Poor must offer and pay for contraceptive care even though the organization has a longstanding religious objection to the practice.

The Trump administration and Little Sisters of the Poor both argued to the court that there was nothing under Obamacare that allowed religious organizations or other organizations from opting out of mandated contraceptive coverage for moral or religious reasons.

Justice Clarence Thomas, writing for the majority, agreed, saying: “We hold today that the departments had the statutory authority to craft that [religious] exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption.”

This marks the third time the Obama contraceptive mandate has appeared before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Said Miami Archbishop Thomas: “For over 150 years, the Little Sisters have engaged in faithful service and sacrifice, motivated by a religious calling to surrender all for the sake of their brother … But for the past seven years, they — like many other religious objectors who have participated in the litigation and rulemakings leading up to today’s decision — have had to fight for the ability to continue in their noble work without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The U.S. Conference of Bishops agreed saying that contraceptives aren’t health care and should never have been mandated in the first place.

While happy with the decision, it remains just one decision of many where religious leaders feel that are under attack by government the Bishops say.

It “brings a close to this episode of government discrimination against people of faith. Yet, considering the efforts we have seen to force compliance with this mandate, we must continue to be vigilant for religious freedom,” said a statement from the Conference.

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