Sonia Sotomayor Delays Health Law’s Birth Control Mandate

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Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor made the controversial decision to halt the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act for several Catholic groups.

The portion of the health care law would require that some religiously-affiliated organizations provide health insurance that includes coverage of birth control. 

According to The Los Angeles Times, Sotomayor decided late Tuesday night to block implementation of the contraceptive requirement, just hours before the law’s insurance coverage went into effect on New Year’s Day. 

She acted on an emergency appeal from lawyers for a group of Catholic nuns from Colorado -- The Little Sisters of the Poor Home For The Aged -- who would face what they call “draconian fines” beginning on New Year’s Day if they failed to comply with the law. 

Sotomayor gave the government until Friday to file a response in the case. Her order extends only to the group of nuns and does not apply more broadly to the Affordable Care Act and its requirements. 

Politico reports that the White House has stood by its birth control mandate, stating that the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive coverage regulations are fair and they don't hurt the Denver-based religious organization that was granted the reprieve by Sotomayor.

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