Government urges Highest Court to pass on nonprofit contraceptive mandate argument

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Government attorneys are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to not take up the issue of contraception mandates of the Affordable Care Act. A U.S. Court of Appeals has denied a Catholic coalition's effort to strike down the provision.

The Michigan Catholic Conference and several other groups sued the Department of Health & Human Services, arguing that the provisions violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But attorneys for the administration successfully argued that the high court had already settled the matter when it ruled on several “accommodations” in the “Hobby Lobby” landmark decision that allowed family-owned businesses an exemption under the law.

The Michigan Catholic Conference has argued that the accommodations would force it to facilitate “immoral conduct” in violation of its religious beliefs, according to Bloomberg News services.

Contraception mandates have been widely opposed by many faith-based organizations, including those among long-term care operators, on the grounds they conflict with their values and religious freedoms.

Little Sisters of the Poor, an international order of Catholic nuns, filed suit against the government late last year in an effort to block enforcement of the contraception mandate; it is awaiting a decision on its case by the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.