The Obamacare contraception mandate will find itself at the Supreme Court, again. In 2014, with the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Woods cases, the Court handed down a 5-4 decision allowing closely held for-profit companies to opt out of the law. The upcoming case will deal with non-profit organizations.
The Court announced on Friday that it would take the case involving seven plaintiffs against Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. The plaintiffs include:
- Roman Catholic dioceses, including Pittsburgh
- Priests for Life
- East Texas Baptist University
- Little Sisters of the Poor
- Southern Nazarene University
- Geneva College
This time around there is another distinction beyond the non-profit versus for-profit status. Under the contraception mandate, these plaintiffs are required to fill out forms signaling that they are opting out, which will then involve a third party providing contraception to employees. The plaintiffs believe that the forms still violate their religious liberties, however.
Until September of this year, seven appeals courts had ruled in favor of the contraception mandate. The eighth court to hear the case, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, ruled against the mandate. The conflicting decisions thus made it likely that the Supreme Court would weigh in.
The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) provided an analysis of the Supreme Court’s announcement. They also have a petition circulating 157,665 signatures as of Monday afternoon to “Defeat Obamacare at the Supreme Court.” On Monday, Jay Sekulow of ACLJ discussed the case on his radio program.
Sekulow framed the issue as a life and religious liberty issue, as have other groups. The Beckett Fund for instance writes “High Court to decide if Government can force nuns to provide contraceptives.” They also have provided an infographic to show what’s at stake in the case for the Little Sisters of the Poor.