By Steven Ertelt
The Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion today in the case involving the Little Sisters of the Poor, which have been fighting to not be forced to pay for abortion-causing drugs for their employees.
The Little Sisters of the Poor are asking the nation’s highest court to ensure they do not have to comply with Obamacare’s abortion mandate. The mandate compels religious groups to pay for birth control and drugs that may cause abortions.
Without relief, the Little Sisters would face millions of dollars in IRS fines because they cannot comply with the government’s mandate that they give their employees free access to contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs. Today’s decision removes all of those threats of possible fines.
“The Court’s decision is a win for the Little Sisters and other groups who needed relief from draconian government fines,” the Becket Fund, the Little Sisters’ attorneys, told LifeNews.
“We are very encouraged by the Court’s decision, which is an important win for the Little Sisters. The Court has recognized that the government changed its position,” said Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead Becket attorney for the Little Sisters of the Poor. “It is crucial that the Justices unanimously ordered the government not to impose these fines and indicated that the government doesn’t need any notice to figure out what should now be obvious—the Little Sisters respectfully object. There is still work to be done, but today’s decision indicates that we will ultimately prevail in court.”
Previously, the U.S. Supreme Court temporarily protected the Little Sisters from the mandate. The Little Sisters then went before the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver to extend that protection, but a panel of the appeals court ruled against them. Eventually the full appeals court ruled in its favor but the Obama administration appealed.
In a surprise move Monday, the Supreme Court punted on the case and, in a unanimous ruling, essentially told the lower courts to find a way to accommodate the Little Sisters so their conscience rights would not be violated. The Supreme Court sent the case back to lower courts to examine an alternative accommodation to the mandate.