Following a temporary injunction issued by Justice Sonia Sotomayor on New Year's Eve, the Obama administration argued on Friday that asking Catholic institutions to sign a form exempting them from the Affordable Care Act's birth control mandate is not a "substantial burden" on religious freedom.
The mandate requires employers to offer plans that provide a range of free preventive-care services, including contraception. The Obama administration created an accommodation for religious organizations that oppose birth control, requiring those employers to fill out an exemption form.
The Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, an organization of Catholic nuns in Denver, asked the Supreme Court to issue a temporary injunction, which Sotomayor granted hours before the Jan. 1 deadline. The group claimed that the form violated their religious beliefs as signing the document would make them "authorize others" to provide contraception.
The Justice Department argued that wouldn't be the case, due to the accommodation granted to religious non-profit groups. The signing of the form would not result in the distribution of any birth control.
"A signed certification will discharge all employer-applicants' responsibilities under the contraceptive-coverage provision, and their employees will not receive such coverage from the third-party administrator. Given these circumstances, applicants' concern that they are 'authorizing others' to provide coverage lacks any foundation in the facts or the law," Solicitor General Donald Verrilli wrote.
Justice Sotomayor will now have to decide if she wants to rule on the injunction herself or have the entire court hear the case.
Marie Claire Newsletter
Celebrity news, beauty, fashion advice, and fascinating features, delivered straight to your inbox!
The Anthropologie Cyber Monday Sale Feels Like Stealing
Some of these sales are so good, the mind reels.
By Alicia Lutes
Chrissy Teigen and Daughter Luna's Hairstyling Bonding Moment Is the Cutest Thing
The Legend girls are big fans of the Dyson Airwrap.
By Sophia Vilensky
Dolly Parton’s Cheerleader Glam Was the Highlight of Thanksgiving Game Day
We know exactly who won this one.
By Sophia Vilensky
36 Ways Women Still Aren't Equal to Men
It's just one of the many ways women still aren't equal to men.
By Brooke Knappenberger
The Secret to Having “It All”? A Society That Actually Supports Women
When asked how I “have it all,” I often cite my own hard work. But the truth is I had access to certain rights and privileges that are now under more attack than ever.
By Jo Piazza
EMILY's List President Laphonza Butler Has Big Plans for the Organization
Under Butler's leadership, the largest resource for women in politics aims to expand Black political power and become more accessible for candidates across the nation.
By Rachel Epstein
Want to Fight for Abortion Rights in Texas? Raise Your Voice to State Legislators
Emily Cain, executive director of EMILY's List and and former Minority Leader in Maine, says that to stop the assault on reproductive rights, we need to start demanding more from our state legislatures.
By Emily Cain
Your Abortion Questions, Answered
Here, MC debunks common abortion myths you may be increasingly hearing since Texas' near-total abortion ban went into effect.
By Rachel Epstein
The Future of Afghan Women and Girls Depends on What We Do Next
Between the U.S. occupation and the Taliban, supporting resettlement for Afghan women and vulnerable individuals is long overdue.
By Rona Akbari
How to Help Afghanistan Refugees and Those Who Need Aid
With the situation rapidly evolving, organizations are desperate for help.
By Katherine J. Igoe
It’s Time to Give Domestic Workers the Protections They Deserve
The National Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, reintroduced today, would establish a new set of standards for the people who work in our homes and take a vital step towards racial and gender equity.
By Ai-jen Poo