The U.S. Supreme Court said on Friday that, while litigation continues, an order of Roman Catholic nuns need not comply with a part of President Barack Obama's healthcare law requiring employers to provide insurance that covers contraception.
In the latest skirmish over religious objections to providing government-mandated contraception, the four-sentence court order was a partial victory for the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Baltimore-based order of nuns that runs nursing homes, and Illinois-based Christian Brothers Services, which manages healthcare plans for Catholic groups.
The unusually worded order by the court imposed a requirement on the groups before they can claim the exemption. First, they must send written notification to the Department of Health and Human Services saying they object to the contraception mandate.
The court's decision means that, as long as the groups send the letters, they are effectively exempt while litigation continues in lower courts, putting off for now any conclusive decision on this latest legal test of Obamacare, as the president's 2010 Affordable Care Act has become known.