The Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – required that employers provide contraceptive coverage as part of their health-care plans, but some entities, citing their religious beliefs, objected. One such group is the Little Sisters of the Poor, Roman Catholic nuns who minister to the elderly.
On July 8 in U.S. Supreme Court, the Sisters won their case. Ruling 7-2 in Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul, Home, v. Pennsylvania, the justices said the Trump administration had acted within its authority to increase religious-belief exemptions to the ACA’s contraception requirement.
“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,” wrote Justice Clarence Thomas in the majority opinion. “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.”
Thomas added: “We hold today that the Departments [in the Trump administration] had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. We further hold that the rules promulgating these exemptions are free from procedural defects.”