Administration keeps up contraception fight with Little Sisters of the Poor

Negotiations between the federal government and religious groups over the Affordable Care Act's controversial contraception mandate could stretch on under a motion filed Monday in federal court.

Several groups  — including the nursing home-operating Little Sisters of the Poor — sued the government over the mandate, arguing that an accommodation waiver that would allow them to opt out of the ACA's contraception requirement still violated their religious freedom.

The new petition, filed by the Justice Department in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, requests an additional 60 days of negotiations in the case between federal officials and religious organizations including East Texas Baptist University and the Catholic Diocese of Beaumont.

The groups were disappointed by the Justice Department's move, The Washington Post reported, since they believed a Republican president would put an end to their fight over the mandate. President Donald Trump had stated during his campaign that he would “make absolutely certain religious orders like The Little Sisters of the Poor are not bullied by the federal government because of their religious beliefs.”

“This litigation has gone on long enough,” the religious group's April 20 petition reads. “It is time for the Department of Justice to move on, and to allow the court, the universities and other religious ministries to move on as well.”