At the request of a group of Catholic nuns in the case Little Sisters of the Poor v. Kathleen Sebelius, Justice Sonia Sotomayor has temporarily blocked the HHS mandate, which requires the purchase of contraceptive coverage even among groups that have ethical or religious opposition to doing so. According to the Associated Press:
A Supreme Court justice has blocked the carrying out of portions of President Obama’s health care law that would have forced some religion-affiliated organizations to provide health insurance for employees that includes birth control coverage.
Justice Sotomayor acted on a request from an order of Catholic nuns in Colorado, whose request for a stay had been denied by the lower courts.
Other religious organizations have protested the mandate due to conscientious objections. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops outlined concerns about the mandate which are shared by many groups of various faith and ethical backgrounds. Each reason is expanded upon at the link provided.
1.The mandate does not exempt Catholic charities, schools, universities, or hospitals.
2.The mandate forces these institutions and others, against their conscience, to pay for things they consider immoral.
3.The mandate forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and devices as well as contraception.
4.Catholics of all political persuasions are unified in their opposition to the mandate.
5.Many other religious and secular people and groups have spoken out strongly against the mandate.
6.The federal mandate is much stricter than existing state mandates.
The Catholic organization Priests for Life is one of many groups who (just today, in their case) has received an emergency injunction that grants exemption from the contraception mandate. This means that Priests for Life employees will not lose their health insurance tomorrow as 2014 begins.
Justice Sotomayor is allowing the government until Friday to respond to the decision, which can be found here.