WH says birth control mandate doesn’t apply to Little Sisters of the Poor

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The White House responded Wednesday to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor halting a birth control mandate in ObamaCare for a Catholic organization, saying the group isn’t subject to the requirement because it doesn’t apply to self-funded church plans.

Sotomayor issued the order late Tuesday, one day before parts of the health care law were set to go into effect.

In her order, Sotomayor said the government is temporarily prevented from enforcing contraceptive coverage requirements against the Denver-based Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged and must respond by 10 a.m. Friday.

The White House said the Justice Department has already made clear the mandate doesn’t apply to such organizations and that it defers to the agency on litigation matters.

“But [we] remain confident that our final rules strike the balance of providing women with free contraceptive coverage while preventing non-profit religious employers with religious objections to contraceptive coverage from having to contract, arrange, pay, or refer for such coverage,” the White House said.

Several organizations, including the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, Catholic University and the Michigan Catholic Conference, had asked other justices to block the law until their arguments were heard. Parts of the Affordable Care Act, also known as ObamaCare, go into effect New Year’s Day.

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