WASHINGTON, May 16, 2016 — The Supreme Court on Monday sent the Little Sisters of the Poor case back to the lower courts to revisit the contraceptive drug mandate under the Affordable Care Act. The Little Sisters had been threatened with millions of dollars in fines for refusing to comply with the mandate.
In Zubik v. Burwell, a number of nonprofit religious organizations sued the government for violating their First Amendment religious freedoms by forcing them to purchase contraceptive and abortifacient drug coverage for their employees. Seven separate organizations were named in the lawsuit representing over 90 universities, religious charities, and diocese opposing the contraception mandate.
The Supreme Court directed the Courts of Appeals reviewing the cases to “allow sufficient time” to “arrive at an approach going forward that accommodates petitioners’ religious exercise.”
This means that the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious organizations will not be fined while their cases are reviewed.
“Life Legal applauds the Little Sisters of the Poor for standing firm in their constitutionally-protected religious beliefs,” said Life Legal Defense Foundation Executive Director Alexandra Snyder. “We are encouraged by the Supreme Court’s express recognition that the First Amendment rights of nonprofit religious organizations must be accommodated.”
Life Legal filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of the Little Sisters on behalf of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, which cites the deadly health risks of contraceptive and abortifacient drugs and devices. The brief is available here: Little Sisters Amicus Brief.
The Supreme Court’s decision is available here: Zubik v. Burwell.