WASHINGTON – On Monday, The Supreme Court asked lower courts to reconsider the decision regarding the legal challenge from religious groups. The request was caused over the Obama administration’s rules for cost-free contraception for women. After Justice Antonin Scalia’s death, the eight-member group has split twice in 4-4 ties, which has made it harder to find a majority for this and other cases.

Lower courts must now take another look at the case, which consists of making an exception for faith-based groups so they do not have to cover the birth control costs of their female employees.

Supporters of contraception rally before Zubik v. Burwell is heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. Image Credit: Rolling Stone
As seen above, supporters of contraception rally before Zubik v. Burwell is heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington. Image Credit: Rolling Stone

The case is not expected to return to the Supreme Court until a new justice is confirmed to take the empty seat left by Scalia. Obama nominated Judge Merrick Garland and White House spokesman Josh Earnest is demanding Congress to confirm Scalia’s successor.

“The court expresses no view on the merits of the cases,” the justices wrote, as reported by The Washington Post.

The Supreme Court continues to provide birth control to women under health care plans of religious groups who object

In the meantime, the administration of President Barack Obama will be able to continue providing access to cost-free birth control to women under health plans of religious groups. Which will not be forced to follow the government’s procedures and will not be fined if they object to the benefits of contraception. These groups include non-profit charities and colleges.

They argued that they would be acting against their own religious beliefs if they assumed responsibility for requiring their insurance administrators to provide birth control to women under their health plans.

President Obama said Monday in an interview with BuzFeed that women are getting health insurance and that his administration is working to accommodate faith-based institutions who object birth control.

For now, only those groups that have challenged the rules are exempt from providing contraceptives, but the Supreme Court said the government was still making sure the women affected had access to cost-free birth control.

Head of the Catholic Diocese in Pittsburg Bishop David Zubik; the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of nuns who run over a dozen nursing homes for impoverished seniors and the anti-abortion advocacy group Priests for Life were among the challengers, as well as evangelical and Catholic colleges in Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, D.C.

Religious institutions and houses of worship whose main activity is to spread their faith are not required to provide birth control. Other faith-based groups who object must notify the Obama administration or their insurers. They must also let their insurance administrators to handle birth control issues.

Source: The Washington Post