- The Washington Times - Friday, January 29, 2016

A charity of nuns and other religious nonprofits who contested Obamacare’s birth control rules will plead their case to the Supreme Court on March 23.

Oral arguments in the case, Zubik v. Burwell, will mark the fourth time the justices have weighed in on President Obama’s signature law — the Affordable Care Act — and the second time it’s heard from devout employers who object to the administration’s “contraception mandate.”

Religious nonprofits are pushing for a full exemption from the regulation, an outgrowth of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that requires employers to cover 20 types of FDA-approved contraceptives in their plans or else pay crippling fines.

The justices shielded certain corporations from the contraception mandate 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 attempt at compromise for the objecting nonprofits still imposes an undue burden.

The Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who provide elder care, and a line of Catholic archdioceses and Christian colleges say an “accommodation” furnished by the Health and Human Services Department clears the way for a third party to provide drugs and services they view as sinful, particularly morning-after pills they equate with abortion.

“After promising that the Little Sisters’ religious beliefs would be protected, the government created a new regulation requiring the Little Sisters change their healthcare plan to offer drugs that violate Catholic teaching,” the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty said in a statement announcing the date of argument.

The Justice Department will submit their main brief to the court in the coming days. At the circuit level, its attorneys compared the nonprofits to conscientious objectors who duck the draft and then want to block the government from naming someone else to fight.

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