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Supreme Court Justice Issues Reprieve For Birth Control Mandate

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A Supreme Court justice issued an 11th hour reprieve for religious organizations opposed to offering birth control as part of their health insurance plans.

Mary Bubala reports that includes a religious order in Baltimore County whose organization sued to stop the mandate.

On New Year’s Eve, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor blocked part of the president’s health care law from starting Wednesday. She delayed the requirement that religious organizations offer birth control as part of their health insurance plans or face penalties.

The request for the stay came from a Catholic group, the Little Sisters of the Poor, saying it goes against their Catholic beliefs. They operate 30 homes for the poor and elderly in the nation, including St. Martin’s Home in Catonsville.

Little Sisters said, “We are grateful for the decision of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granting us a temporary injunction protecting us from the contraceptive mandate. We hope and pray that we will receive a favorable outcome in order to continue to serve the elderly of all faiths with the same community support and religious freedom that we have always appreciated.”

Religious groups fought against offering contraceptives since it was first proposed as part of the Affordable Care Act.

The White House eventually offered a compromise which keeps the organizations from paying for the coverage.

“The insurance company–not the hospital, not the charity–will be required to reach out to the woman and offer her contraceptive coverage free of charge,” said President Barack Obama.

But lawyers for the Little Sisters argued the change still requires the nuns to find an insurer who will provide contraceptive coverage, which they are opposed to.

The Obama administration has until 10 a.m. Friday to respond to Sotomayor’s order. So far, the White House has not commented on the ruling.

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