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Religious objections challenge contraceptive mandate


TPA Christian Brothers Services does not have to comply

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling last week that a Catholic charity for the elderly run by the Little Sisters of the Poor can remain temporarily exempt from adding birth control coverage to its healthcare plans could fuel other Catholic not-for-profit groups to look for exemptions.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate requires employers to provide workers with insurance that covers contraception. Churches and other places of worship are completely exempt from complying with the contraceptive requirements.

The injunction allows The Little Sisters, a 175-year-old order of Catholic nuns dedicated to providing “the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they will be welcomed as Christ,” to file their own paperwork with the government certifying their religious objections to the law, rather than filling out the government-mandated form that they said violated their conscience because it explicitly authorized a third-party to provide the benefits to which they object. The group's third-party administrator, Christian Brothers Services, does not have to comply with the contraception mandate until the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver can issue a final ruling on the case. 

“The recent injunction that has been filed against the mandate for contraception will undoubtedly serve to spur further debate, and potentially open the gates for other organizations to follow suit on the basis of their religious beliefs,” said Abimbola Farinde, PharmD, MS, who serves on the faculty at Columbia Southern University, Orange Beach, Ala.


Read about the Supreme Court case here

Read the list of criteria for employer exemption from the ACA rule here

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