Obamacare Contraception Mandate Blocked at the Last Minute

Justice Sotomayor issued an emergency stay to delay the requirement that religious groups pay for birth control in employee health coverage

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George Bridges / AP

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee on July 13, 2009

Correction appended: Jan. 1, 2014, 9:50 p.m. E.T.

In the final hours of 2013, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a request from religious groups in the U.S. to block part of the Affordable Care Act requiring companies to pay for contraceptives in employee health coverage regardless of religious beliefs. Acting on a request from an order of Catholic nuns in Denver, she issued a stay on the Obamacare provision.

Catholic groups in the U.S. requested the mandate be delayed while the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals considers a legal challenge from craft-store chain Hobby Lobby challenging the law on the grounds that it infringes on religious liberty, NBC News reports. As the Justice overseeing the 10th Circuit, the decision to grant the stay fell to Sotomayor, whose busy New Year’s Eve also included helping ring in 2014 in New York City by lowering the iconic Times Square ball.

The government will have until Friday to respond.

An earlier version of this article gave the wrong first name for the Supreme Court Justice. She is Sonia Sotomayor, not Sandra.

[NBC News]

53 comments
AlphaJuliette
AlphaJuliette

Contraception should be the responsibility of each individual, not healthcare insurance.

Just my Humble Opinion

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

Sandra Sonia Sotomayor is Latina, Catholic and convent educated. So it is not surprising. Although that does not guarantee what her vote will be when Obama applies the pressure. I already gave up on the independence of the Judiciary when John Robert flipped vote. The frogs are in full surge in their quest to re do the nation foundation.


forgottenlord
forgottenlord

Everyone calm down.  She issued an emergency stay because it needs to finish going through the legal challenges and will undoubtedly end up in front of the full court and it isn't appropriate to have it implemented when its constitutionality remains under question.  It is the proper non-partisan thing to do.  It likely has no relationship with what her final vote will be when the issue goes to the full court.

RB1
RB1

So according to the great minds here, if I start a large business and I'm a member of a religion that doesn't believe in modern medicine, than I don't have to provide health insurance to my employees?  This is on the same rationale (for all employees) that is being pedaled at all women employed by Hobby Lobby!  I can see a true religious organization's perspective, but still they shouldn't have the right to force their religious beliefs onto their employees! That's a form of discrimination.

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

I wonder how Democrats will view Justice SONIA (not Sandra, TIME Magazine) Sotomayor now.

bojimbo26
bojimbo26

Justice Sotomayor is catholic ?

TallusRip
TallusRip

This is getting ridiculous.  First, we let corporations define themselves as people with Citizens United, and now those "people" are getting to force their religious views on people who work for them, regardless of those peoples' religious or non-religious beliefs.  Hobby Lobby is a CRAFT STORE.  NOT a church.


This is why the rest of the 1st world laughs at us.  The US is a 1st world nation behaving like a 3rd world theocracy.  It's pathetic.

cef
cef

@AlphaJuliette "contraception" is not only used for contraception...that's the biggest issue.  I had to be on it for three months in order to regulate my estrogen-progesterone balance, which was causing me to NOT ovulate - technically, "contraception" made me fertile again.  What you call your "Humble Opinion" could mean people like me are denied easy, cheap treatment for these conditions because someone's religious beliefs clash with my needs.

tom.litton
tom.litton

@AlphaJulietteI go back and forth.  


On the one hand, making contraception easier and less costly to get has a ton of societal benefits:  reduces health costs, poverty, abortions, etc.  There is some evidence it will reduce crime in 30 years (ever see Freakonomics?) 


However, people shouldn't be forced to do something that they find immoral.  


On the other hand, should employers be allowed to choose which federal requirements they follow based on religious belief?   Is it unfair to employees, who may or may not have the same beliefs?   Could it be used as a form of discrimination?  If you close your business for the christian sabath (Sunday), but not the Jewish sabath (Saturday) is that fair to your Jewish employees?  Does it matter because they can choose to work for you or not, or is it not fair because there may not be any other employment available?

jmac
jmac

@ReneDemonteverde Obama has no say in how Sotomayor votes  - any more than Bush had a say in how Scalia votes - because good luck guessing that one.   We can all figure out how Thomas votes - exactly the way his wife tells him.  


Robert's just remembered his kids, history and how it was going to look for a conservative court to say the US cannot have universal health care.    He didn't want the Robert's Court to go down in flames, especially after the conservative fiasco of Bush/Gore and the plea that it never be used as a precedent.  

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@RB1Stupid post. Nobody is saying imposing the owner`s belief on his employees. Just an exception to the contraceptive plan which is anathema to a Catholic belief system. Do not muddle up the issue to distract from the main topic. And that is whether nuns of the poor forced to distribute condoms, contra ceptives among their employees.

RB1
RB1

Maybe those nuns that are trying to justify this claim based upon the issue that they can't afford the additional costs for birth control coverage in the health plans should really re-evaluate their ability to hire employees! If you can't afford to provide what is required than do without or look for volunteers. i think their rationale is a cop-out for trying to impose their own religion on others!

mrbomb13
mrbomb13

Great catch there!

Unbelievable mistake by a TIME Magazine writer.  Shows how much their editorial staff has shrunk as the magazine has lost readership, revenues, and relevance in recent years.

reallife
reallife

@VeritasVosLiberabit as usual they've must've been thinking "war on women" and the name Sandra is always on the tip of their tongues


can't get away from what they are


LOL

jmac
jmac

@bojimbo26 Yo.   That doesn't mean she would vote Catholic.   I don't mind the stay while the lower court works it out.  But we know how Thomas, Alito, and, most likely, Scalia will vote should it make it to the Supremes.  

KyleBrown
KyleBrown

@TallusRip You are effectively saying people with religious beliefs cannot run businesses.  They are restricted to working FOR people they disagree with religiously, since no other realistic/common opportunities for making a living.


Maybe our society can tolerate a bit more diversity than that.


For the record, I do not have problem with birth control, but I disagree with it being in basic health care, as it is ultimately not a NECESSARY treatment, and the cost if fairly low anyhow ($9/mo  Walmart).


FWIW, the Amish are completely excluded from ObamaCare - and consequently won't be paying for, or accessing free birth control.  Why are Catholics different?  (The Amish have won exclusions for Social Security and Medicare also.)


MagicMan
MagicMan

@TallusRip Stop trying to force your non-religious beliefs on people who own businesses. Your argument is bunk and getting old. It's pathetic. I suppose your next argument will be that Muslim business owners should be required to provide all of their associates Christmas hams.

Channah
Channah

@TallusRip You are so right!  The Catholic Church should realize most of their followers do use birth control.  They do not consider it a sin.


Hobby Lobby, as a store chain, has no right to infringe on their employees' private lives.  If they were using birth control in the stores, that is another issue.  But, in their homes! 

jmac
jmac

@ReneDemonteverde @RB1    Churches are exempt from the contraceptive requirement.   For-profit organizations are not.   The Little Sisters of the Poor falls into a middle category because they are affiliated with but not owned or controlled by a religious organization.   "Although such groups need not provide coverage themselves, they must sign a certification allowing insurance companies to do so."


"The dispute in the new case is whether that certification itself amounts to conduct that violates the groups' religious faith."  


 No one is forcing the nuns to deliver contraceptives to the 69 elderly poor people they care for- all they have to do is sign a certificate.      In the meantime, they should be searching their soul to figure out why they want women to not  have   access to contraceptives when they claim they're against abortions.   Even God could figure that one out.     

tom.litton
tom.litton

@RB1Here is the kicker.  Providing birth control is cheaper then not providing it.  That is birth control is so cheap, that it's cheaper then the few women who would get pregnant and the even fewer women who have medical issues birth control helps with.

jmac
jmac

@jmac @bojimbo26 There are six Catholics and three Jews on the Supreme Court.  No protestants, which is amazing considering the clammer the right-wing evangelicals make.  Then again, they don't follow the news so won't figure it out until Fox decides to make it a point.  

jmac
jmac

@KyleBrown @TallusRip "It's not a necessary treatment."   Neither is viagra - which my Representative cried for (real tears) on the House floor and then the very next week voted to not fund contraceptives in the same plan.   Contraceptive coverage is just about as basic a health care treatment as you can find.  


Unless you've never been trapped in an unwanted pregnancy brought about by a drunk husband or a rapist on viagra.  

tom.litton
tom.litton

@MagicMan If everyone else was required to provide Christmas hams, then sure.  Why would you single out a specific religion and treat them differently?

The real issue with that is:  Why would you require anyone to provide christmas hams?

reallife
reallife

@Channah @TallusRip  can't you libtards ever tell the truth?


"granted a request from religious groups in the U.S. to block part of the Affordable Care Act requiring companies to PAY for contraceptives in employee health coverage regardless of religious beliefs."


get it now? they dont want to PAY for it, they're not saying ANYTHING about using them


stop misleading low information voters, I know it's hard for you to stop lying, you're a libtard, it's in your dna, but try it once in a while


TallusRip
TallusRip

@Channah  Indeed.  Denying employees the same kind of healthcare coverage that other companies are required to offer is like telling their employees what they're allowed to buy with the wages they earn.  If they don't want to provide the reproductive healthcare aspect of insurance, they shouldn't be a business.  They are simply being asked to provide the same access to healthcare that other companies are required to.  I doubt Hobby Lobby's executives would be thrilled if they were bought out by a larger company owned by Jehova's Witnesses and suddenly they were denied coverage for blood transfusions, or by a Muslim company that denies them treatment for heart disease because of its foundation in the consumption of pork.  Religious mandates and exceptions erode culture for preposterous reasons and only open the door for even more ridiculous nonsense.

jmac
jmac

@ReneDemonteverde @jmac   Rene:   "The frogs are in full surge in their quest to re do the nation foundation."

"Stupid post.  Do not muddle up the issue to distract from the main topic. And that is whether nuns of the poor forced to distribute condoms, contra ceptives among their employees."


No nun is being forced to distribute condoms.   Yes, I believe you read REd State.  


ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@jmac@ReneDemonteverdeSame as yours. But I try to inject common sense between the hyperboles which many of the know it alls seems to posses. People say I get over the top with regards to Obama. Which is true except that I firmly believe he knowingly and willingly is destroying this country. He lied about Obama Care. Which should open your eyes instead of trying to defend the indefensible. If he is lying in front of cameras what is he lying if he is not in it ?

jmac
jmac

@ReneDemonteverde @jmac I watch Fox every day.  I read the National REview's The Corner and REd State and Michelle Malkin.  I previously have gotten gotten The Financial Times (no lefty there) and The Economist.   I read Andrew Sullivan who used to be a Republican.   Sometimes I accidentally click on The Washing Times instead of The Washington Post (hilarious - it's like going down the rabbit hole).


I answered you honestly.   Where do you get your news, Rene?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@jmacwhat about you, Jmac. What other newspapers you read beside the NYT, WAPO, LA Times and other left leaning rags ? Seems like all you put up here are talking points from the White House.

jmac
jmac

@ReneDemonteverde @jmac For goodness sake, she's deeply involved in politics.   He's bragged he doesn't read a newspaper but sometimes his wife would read him articles from the Washington Times.   She's his eyes and ears to the news!  That's from his mouth.   I don't have to go into his bedroom to hear what he says.   (You seem to be very concerned about bedrooms - so was Thomas as he thought police had a right to invade a man's bedroom in Texas).  


Fortunately, the other Supremes didn't see it that way.  

manlyman
manlyman

@tom.litton @RB1 If birth control is so cheap than what's the big deal tomtom? Pay for it out of pocket and allow the church to continue to hold to it's beliefs. Hmmm...seems to me there's something in our constitution about government and religion...

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

If there is a black man you should admire for having fought from the bottom up it should be Clarence Thomas not that Idiot you call your President. Thomas really struggled from poverty and discrimination from the deep South to make it to the Supreme Court. He did not rely on anybody`s good graces to succeed. He did it on his own. Plus if you ask him his grades I am sure he will not hesitate to show you his. Only reason you people do not like Clarence Thomas is because he is conservative. 

jmac
jmac

@ReneDemonteverde @jmac @bojimbo26 When George Bush senior put Clarence Thomas on the Supreme Court, he said that he though black people would be happy.


He was wrong and he showed his racism in thinking that because of a man's skin color, others with that skin color would fall in line.   Thurgood Marshall he's not, which is a shame to the great legacy of Marshall.    

jmac
jmac

@ReneDemonteverde @jmac @bojimbo26 There is not any difference between a Muslim who might believe in Sharia law and Clarence Thomas and his religious beliefs.     Both want to keep women down.  


Allowing contraceptives to stop abortions should be a no-brainer for both Thomas and whatever Muslim sits on our court.   

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@jmac@bojimbo26Watch the fireworks if a Muslim who believe in the Sharia gets to the Supreme Court. Political correctness is wonderful. Should solve all our problems.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@jmac@KyleBrown@TallusRipStupid post again. How many women got pregnant by a rapist ? Do you have statistics on that ? What differentiate it from women who got pregnant from their boyfriends and to get even said they were raped ? And women who get pregnant from their drunk husband ? Do you suggest perhaps a department to oversee the bedroom activities before they get real ? Perhaps get their signature signifying full approval ?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@tom.litton@ReneDemonteverdeIf you give hams during Christmas then they are Christian hams. Christmas being a Christian holiday. As for Muslim hams perhaps you could enlighten me on that one. Yes you got it right. A Muslim ham becomes Christianized and baptized when given to a Christian. Oh, wait Muslim hams dont exist right ? Right ?

tom.litton
tom.litton

@ReneDemonteverde@tom.litton@MagicMan 

A.  Hams can't be Christians.  Their hams.

2.  He specifically said Christmas hams (ie hams for christmas).  I assume if he meant Muslim hams (ie hams for muslims) he would have said Muslim hams. 

The real question is: If a Muslim hands a Muslim ham to a Christian, does it become a Christian ham?   Or does the Christian become Muslim?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@tom.litton@MagicManBecause they are hams and they are Christians. You heard about Muslim hams ? How can you distribute Muslim hams among your Muslim employees if there are no Muslim hams ?

jmac
jmac

@ReneDemonteverde @jmac @reallife @Channah @TallusRip "You are asking them to do something against their basic belief, Jmac."     And you're complaining that there might be a Muslim on the Court!   That's something conservatives can't understand!  There is no difference to me between a Muslim's attitude toward women using his religious text and a Catholic or evangelical's attitude toward women using the bible.   There's no difference!  There's a reason we have separation of Church and State when it comes to rights.  Yes, women have rights.  

jmac
jmac

@ReneDemonteverde @jmac @reallife @Channah @TallusRip  No one is asking these nuns to PAY for contraceptives.   No one. 


Read a newspaper and then come back and comment.  And maybe you could keep Obama's name off it - this will be settled by the Supreme Court (I'm okay either way it falls) and Obama has no control over any votes in the Supreme Court - regardless of your tin foil hat theories.  

jmac
jmac

@reallife @jmac @Channah @TallusRip The truth were told about what?  That Catholics want more Catholics?  That they're not protesting viagra?  What?  That they closed their eyes to priest molesting children as they try to keep American women barefoot and pregnant and on the outskirts of town?  (old southern saying - just saying).  

dgdoesstuff
dgdoesstuff

@reallife @Channah @TallusRip Yup, and as a theoretical Jehovahs Witness Business Owner, I don't want to PAY for blood transfusions. So... we'll just make doubly sure that the insurance I cover just doesn't, ya know, pay for them. 'Cause God is Great and all that. 

jmac
jmac

@reallife @Channah @TallusRip THat's a little twisted.   They pay for Viagra.  The very church that claims (falsely) it wants to do away with abortion continues to make abortions necessary.  They don't want to do away with abortions, what they want is more Catholic babies.   There's a difference between the two - and it's twisted.