• Forecast
  • News Tip
  • Categories
Temperature Precipitation
Estimated read time
1m 39s

Religious groups excluded from birth control mandate

By Chip Reid/CBS News 6:10 AM January 2, 2014

The Obama administration included a compromise in the law that allows religious groups to sign a certification opting out of the contraceptive requirement

New Year’s Day was the day that President Obama’s health care law took effect — most of it, anyway.

A U.S. Supreme Court justice temporarily blocked a controversial part of the law as it applies to some religious organizations.

The one-page order issued late Tuesday night by Justice Sonia Sotomayor temporarily exempts some church-affiliated organizations from a requirement in the health care law that they provide health insurance that includes birth control.

Those organizations include The Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Roman Catholic nuns who provide nursing care for the elderly.

In their petition to the U.S. Supreme Court, they said they could face “millions of dollars in fines” because they cannot comply with the law’s requirement to provide access to contraceptives, which are “forbidden by their religion.”

The Obama administration included a compromise in the law that allows religious groups to sign a certification opting out of the contraceptive requirement — leaving responsibility for providing that coverage to insurance companies.

But that’s not good enough, according to Daniel Blomberg, of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the nuns in the lawsuit.

“The Little Sisters say, ‘We can’t do that. Our religious beliefs prevent us from not only participating directly, but also participating from forcing someone else to do it,'” he said.

The case could affect hundreds of nonprofit Catholic organizations and ministries across the country.

Marcia Greenberger is with the National Women’s Law Center. “Ninety-eight percent of Catholic women, at some point in their lives, will use contraceptives,” she said. “The issue is, whose religious freedom are we talking about — an employer’s religious freedom or an individual woman’s own religious judgments about what she should be able to do herself?”

Numerous religious organizations have filed federal lawsuits against the contraceptive requirement, and even some private companies have filed lawsuits saying that it violates their religious rights. All of this is expected eventually to be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Latest Stories

  • Make the Alaska Aces part of your team

    by Dave Leval on Dec 02, 21:01

    Here’s your chance to make Stephen Perfetto part of your team. The Alaska Aces center is one of three from the team on the ballot for the annual Meigray- ECHL Fantasy Team. Left-wingers Garet Hunt and Tim Wallace are also on the ballot. You can only vote once during the period that ends Monday, Dec. […]

  • News

    Bean’s Cafe opens overnight shelter, operated by its own staff

    by Eric Ruble on Dec 02, 20:52

    About 50 people were expected to spend Friday night inside Bean’s Cafe. Executive director Lisa Sauder said the decision was made less than one week ago, after the municipality asked for help in accommodating people who were turned away from places like Brother Francis Shelter due to high demand. “The need is great. The temperatures […]

  • Lawmakers, school board consider alternative approach to classroom discipline

    by Liz Raines on Dec 02, 20:35

    School suspensions may become a thing of the past. Lawmakers and school board members are looking at a different approach to student discipline statewide. National studies have found that, for many incarcerated adults, their pathway to jail started with frequent suspensions in school. The trend is now known as the School-to-Prison Pipeline. Educators statewide are trying […]

  • News

    Economist: Alaska is in a recession

    by Associated Press on Dec 02, 19:26

    JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – A state labor department economist says Alaska is in a recession, facing job losses across most sectors of the economy amid chronically low oil prices. Caroline Schultz says the recession likely began at the end of 2015. Job numbers released by the department Friday show average monthly employment in the first […]

  • Guns and marijuana: Murkowski says feds are going too far

    by Shannon Ballard on Dec 02, 19:21

    Alaskans using marijuana may be forfeiting their right to bear arms. According to federal law, marijuana users can’t legally buy guns in the United States. At Granny’s Guns and Loan in Midtown, owner Barry Barr knows his firearms and the rules required to sell them. Each buyer must fill out federal Form 4473. “They have to […]

  • News

    APD asks community where officers should spend their time

    by Lauren Maxwell on Dec 02, 19:02

    Anchorage will soon have new police officers on the streets and for some people, they couldn’t come soon enough. Back-to-back academies, including a graduation on Thursday, are pushing the numbers up. APD spokeswoman Jennifer Castro said there are 40 more officers on the street then there were in January of 2015. She said by next […]

  • Lifestyle

    Avalanche experts: Check your safety gear before venturing into the backcountry

    by Heather Hintze on Dec 02, 18:40

    When it comes to being in the backcountry safety is a top priority. “I’d say, if I showed up and missed a piece of safety gear, it didn’t make it in the car I probably wouldn’t go,” skier Tad Denning said. “It’s hard to enjoy yourself up there when you know you’re not prepared.” Denning […]

  • Politics

    Trump speaks with Taiwan’s president, risking China tensions

    by Associated Press on Dec 02, 16:45

    NEW YORK (AP) – Donald Trump has spoken with the president of Taiwan, a self-governing island the U.S. broke diplomatic ties with in 1979. It is highly unusual, perhaps unprecedented, for a U.S. president or president-elect to speak directly with a Taiwanese leader. The U.S. cut formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan when it shifted diplomatic […]