HHS mandate

Supreme Court will hear appeals in Catholic, other groups' mandate cases

Sister Mary Grace, a member of the Little Sisters of the Poor, venerated a relic of her order’s foundress, St. Jeanne Jugan, at Our Lady of the Island Shrine in Manorville, N.Y., in 2012. The U.S. Supreme Court justices said Nov. 6 they will hear seven pending appeals in lawsuits brought by the women religious and several other Catholic and faith-based entities against the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate.

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court justices said Nov. 6 they will hear seven pending appeals in lawsuits brought by several Catholic and other faith-based entities against the Obama administration's contraceptive mandate.

The court will hear appeals from groups in Colorado, Maryland, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and the District of Columbia.

Among the plaintiffs are the Little Sisters of the Poor, the Archdiocese of Washington, the Pittsburgh and Erie dioceses, Priests for Life, Southern Nazarene University and Texas Baptist University.

Appeals court differs with others, finds in favor of colleges over mandate

ST. LOUIS -- The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Sept. 17 became the first such court to rule in favor of nonprofit religious organizations that have sued to avoid having to participate in the federal government requirement to provide coverage for contraceptives in employee health insurance.

The three-judge panel said in a brief ruling that two Christian schools, Dordt College in Iowa and Cornerstone University in Michigan, should not be required to even follow the process set out by the federal government to avoid having to participate in the insurance requirement.

Court rules against Little Sisters plea to avoid way to bypass mandate

DENVER -- The Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious entities are not substantially burdened by procedures set out by the federal government by which they can avoid a requirement to provide contraceptive coverage in health insurance, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled July 14.

U.S. appeals court hears religious liberty case

Oral arguments were heard Sept. 8 in the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis for a religious liberty case in which a family is seeking exemption from the U.S. Health and Human Services mandate. The mandate would require them to participate in group insurance coverage that includes abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and birth control for their teenage and adult daughters.

The Thomas More Society is defending Missouri State Rep. Paul Wieland, R-Imperial, and his family in the case.

VIEWPOINT | Separation of Church and State -- what it really means

Christopher Stefanick

The Declaration of Independence states we all have God-given rights -- not government-given rights, nor king-given rights -- and that the whole purpose of a government is to defend the rights that a government certainly has no right to take away. Among the most important of our God-given rights is the freedom of religion.

For the first time in U.S. history, we have a presidential administration that has chosen to use the words "freedom of worship" instead of "freedom of religion" -- a dangerous shift of phraseology.

Groups lash out at new opt-out rules for HHS mandate

WASHINGTON -- Pro-life groups that have battled with the federal government since the first rules were issued on contraceptive coverage in 2012 derided the government's latest rules allowing religious institutions -- and potentially some for-profit companies -- to opt out of the contraceptive mandate in the Affordable Care Act.

"Once again HHS (the federal Department of Health and Human Services) continues to violate the conscience rights of Americans while claiming just the opposite," said an Aug. 22 statement from Charmaine Yoest, president and CEO of Americans United for Life.

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