Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a last-ditch plea from Catholic groups Tuesday night to block a birth control mandate in the new health care law for religious organizations, just hours before it was to have gone into effect.
Sotomayor issued the stay specifically for the Little Sisters of the Poor of Baltimore and Christian Brothers Services of Illinois.
The groups requested the emergency stay of provisions of the Affordable Care Act that require companies — regardless of religious beliefs — to provide contraceptives and other abortion-inducing drugs to their employees.
The groups wanted the mandate halted while the court considers a legal challenge, brought by the for-profit company Hobby Lobby, arguing that the requirement violates their religious liberties.
In June, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver waived millions of dollars of fines against Hobby Lobby and a subsidiary, Mardel Christian Stores, which refused to comply with the mandate, writing that the companies were likely to win their claim that requiring for-profit companies to pay for birth control was a violation of religious protections.
The motion for a stay went to Sotomayor as the justice with oversight for the 10th Circuit. http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/31/22128010-supreme-court-halts-contraception-mandate-for-religious-groups?lite