The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on July 14 that a Catholic charity, the Little Sisters of the Poor, will have to provide its employees with contraception coverage under the health care reform program known as Obamacare.
Little Sisters of the Poor would have been exempt from the Obamacare mandate if it had simply filled out the paperwork for the exemption, but the group sued not to have to do the paperwork. The group runs more than 20 homes for impoverished senior citizens.
The health care laws that make up the Affordable Care Act specify that employers must provide health insurance that covers contraception. The Catholic Church is opposed to contraceptives.
The court ruled that completing the opt-out paperwork did not show a substantial burden on the organization's exercise of religion.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, a Christian law firm, represented the Little Sisters of the Poor and four Christian colleges in Oklahoma.
The Becket Fund claimed that if its clients filled out the paperwork then they would be in on a "scheme" to provide their adult employees with contraception coverage.
That contraception coverage would not be provided by the Little Sisters of the Poor, but rather an unrelated insurance company.
Now, because the Little Sisters of the Poor chose not to do the exemption paperwork, the court ruled that the charity must provide contraception coverage to its employees or be penalized by the IRS.
After the paperwork ruling, Sister Loraine Marie Maguire stated, “We simply cannot choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith,” notes Fox News.
Maguire claimed that forcing her organization to comply with the paperwork exemption “violates our nation’s commitment to ensuring that people from diverse faiths can freely follow God’s calling in their lives.”
The Becket Fund is still deciding whether or not to challenge the ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court.