- The Washington Times - Monday, January 11, 2016

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan has invited a group of nuns fighting Obamacare’s “contraception mandate” to be among his honored guests Tuesday at President Obama’s final State of the Union address to Congress.

Sisters Loraine Marie Maguire and Constance Veit will represent the Little Sisters of the Poor, a nonprofit that provides care for the elderly and has fought the administration’s birth control rules all the way to the Supreme Court.

Religious nonprofits are pushing for a full exemption from the mandate, an outgrowth of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that requires employers to cover 20 types of FDA-approved contraceptives as part of their health plans.

The justices shielded certain corporations from the rules in 2014, citing protections within the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993.

This term, the court will look beyond the mandate itself and decide if the government’s olive branch to the objecting nonprofits still imposes an undue burden.

An accommodation drafted by the Health and Human Services Department requires objecting nonprofits to opt out on paper, so a third party can manage and pay for the coverage.

Objecting nonprofits say the rules still make them complicit in providing drugs and services they view as sinful.

“For us, this has nothing to do with politics,” Sister Constance told the National Review. “We just want to take care of the elderly poor without being forced to violate the faith that animates our work.”

Mr. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, and 206 other member of Congress filed a brief with the Supreme Court Monday that asks the justices to side with the nonprofits.

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