Supreme Court Justice Halts Obamacare Birth Control Mandate for Catholic Group

Not to be too much of a conspiracy theorist, but why was this decision made just a few hours before midnight on New Year's Eve? Oh, right, because the Affordable Care Act goes into full effect at midnight. The Associated Press is reporting Tuesday night that a Supreme Court Justice has halted the Obamacare birth control mandate for Catholic groups. The groups had petitioned SCOTUS to be absolved of the responsibility to provide birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act on Jan. 1. As the Raw Story reports, the emergency stay comes at the last minute before Obamacare's implementation.

The organizations asked the Court to issue the stay until they had a chance to make their argument before the Court. The full court has already agreed to hear constitutional challenges of the birth-control mandate, which will occur at a later time.

According to SCOTUSBlog, those cases have not yet been scheduled for oral argument.These organizations claim that the ACA infringes on their freedom to practice their religion because the law requires they provide the use of contraceptives, which the Church forbids.

The portions of the ACA to which these Catholic organizations objected would have gone into effect on Wednesday, January 1, 2014.

As we reported earlier this year, the decision will have far-reaching consequences for the controversy over the so-called "conscience clause."

A ruling would effectively establish to what extent the HHS contraceptive mandate can be enforced by business owners who claim their religious beliefs should be imposed on the coverage of their female employees.
But then again, there could be a different motive surrounding these lawsuits altogether: Studies about whether insurance companies providing free contraceptive coverage saves them money in the long run (more contraceptive access should equal fewer pregnancies, which cost way more) are conflicted when it comes to the actual savings.

The Supreme Court is expected to hear Hobby Lobby's case on the constitutionality of the Obamacare contraception mandate in March:

National craft-store chain Hobby Lobby is lobbying hard against the requirement to provide its employees access to health insurance that covers FDA-approved contraception. As the Affordable Care Act’s rollout continues to struggle, SCOTUS will hear the case in March, and a decision is likely before June.
The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, contends that the law goes against their Christian religious beliefs. The family says it has “no moral objection” to many preventative contraceptives, but they cannot pay for drugs like Plan B and Ella, the morning-after and week-after pill...
Even though the Affordable Health Care Act makes exceptions for many religious organizations and small businesses, it has not budged for large, for-profit companies. If the case goes in Hobby Lobby’s favor, it would be “unprecedented” and could allow companies to deny health coverage to their employees — even though it’s the law. Well, Paul Ryan and fellow GOP backers of the so-called “conscience clause” would be happy.

Happy New Year America — but we won't letting this one go by unnoticed.