Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Obama Admits: Could Have Respected Nuns’ Religious Freedom After All .

By Sarah Torre | April 18, 2016 

It may have taken five years, numerous regulatory updates, hundreds of legal battles, and two trips to the Supreme Court, but the government has finally admitted that, well, maybe it was wrong about the Health and Human Services mandate. In a brief filed at the Supreme Court this week in the Little Sisters case, the Obama administration told the justices that it could have mandated insurers issue separate contraceptive and abortion-inducing drug coverage to those who want it without hijacking the health plans of religious employers. This could spell big trouble for the government’s defense of the mandate.
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Why This Matters
Religious liberty in America provides every person the freedom to live according to his or her conscience—whether at home, in worship, at work, or in service to others. Even though it’s wrapped in arcane details about insurance, the heart of this case is about the nature of religious freedom and who gets to determine how faith is lived out.
The administration acknowledges it could have mandated contraceptive coverage for employees of religious nonprofits while at the same time leaving the nonprofits themselves entirely out of it. But instead, it threatened religious charities with crippling fines, hounded them all the way to the Supreme Court, and still refuses to budge.
Federal law is clear. If the government can further its goals through a regulation that substantially burdens religious exercise or through one that doesn’t, it must choose the latter. That’s how the protection of religious freedom is supposed to work in America and that’s how the Supreme Court should rule in this case.

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