Obama Administration seeks to un-block birth control mandate

The Obama Administration has filed a response to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor's decision to temporarily block the new health-care law's birth control mandate for religious employers.

It is asking that the Supreme Court stop blocking the mandate.

From our Robert Barnes:

The Obama administration told the Supreme Court on Friday that a group of Colorado nuns does not need a special injunction against the new health-care’s law provision providing contraceptive coverage for employees because the group can easily exempt itself from the requirement.

The government asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor to lift the temporary injunction she issued New Year’s Eve for the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Colorado nonprofit that provides services to the elderly. The Affordable Care Act, new provisions of which went into effect Jan. 1, requires employers who provide insurance coverage to include contraceptive services.

But nonprofits such as the nuns may opt out of the requirement simply by certifying that they have religious objections, Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr. wrote in aresponse to Sotomayor filed Friday morning.

“The employer-applicants here are eligible for religious accommodations set out in the regulations that exempt them from any requirement ‘to contract, arrange, pay, or refer for contraceptive coverage,’ ” Verrilli wrote.

Read more here.

Updated at 11:43 a.m.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix.
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Aaron Blake · January 3