US sisters win ‘abortion mandate’ bar

Supreme Court extends injunction against HHS mandate

A religious congregation in the United States has won an extension to a temporary legal bar against the contentious Health and Human Services Mandate (HHS).

Following an 11th-hour challenge on December 31 brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor in Denver, Colorado against a mandate which would require them to provide contraception and abortion coverage in employer insurance, the nuns won a further stay on January 24 in a Supreme Court ruling which stated: "If the employer applicants inform the secretary of Health and Human Services in writing that they are non-profit organisations that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services, the respondents are enjoined from enforcing against the applicants the challenged provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and related regulations pending final disposition of the appeal by the United States Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.”

The result for the sisters’ has clear significance for other religious institutions across the United States, such as hospitals and universities which have sounded grave reservations on the HHS mandate.