Court Says Little Sisters Can Duck Birth-Control Mandate For Now

A federal appeals court that refused to exempt a group of nuns from Obamacare’s birth-control rules said Friday the sisters can duck the mandate and its hefty fines until the Supreme Court decides whether to take up their appeal.

The Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged is among several nonprofit plaintiffs who’ve asked the justices to hear them out next term, saying the Obama administration hasn’t done enough to absolve them from providing birth control they find sinful, including morning-after pills that Catholic groups equate with abortion.

“The federal government doesn’t need the Little Sisters or any other ministry to help it distribute abortion-inducing drugs and other contraceptives,” Mark Rienzi, senior counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, said Friday.

The groups haven’t persuaded top federal judges, though. When the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit turned away the Little Sisters last month, it became the fifth appellate court to reject religious nonprofits’ challenge to the Obama administration policy.