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NEWS
January 9, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The surprising silence coming from the Supreme Court over the last week on a challenge to Obamacare by a group of Colorado nuns suggests justices are divided over what to with the complicated dispute. On New Year's Eve, Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a temporary stay to the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Roman Catholic nonprofit charity that was seeking relief from an Affordable Care Act requirement that it formally request an exemption from offering contraceptives to its employees as part of its health plan.
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OPINION
January 7, 2014 | By The Times editorial board
The Little Sisters of the Poor, an organization of Roman Catholic nuns that runs nursing homes around the country, is testing the contraceptive coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Last week, we're sorry to say, the nuns won a temporary reprieve from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Under the law, most employers are required to provide their employees with health insurance that covers birth control. But the Obama administration agreed to a compromise for nonprofit religious groups that object to contraception, exempting them from paying for such coverage.
OPINION
January 5, 2014
Re "Deep division persists on birth control," Jan. 3 Where will it end? Even as wondrous advances in medicine have continually improved our health, various religions have striven to inject their beliefs into doctor-patient relationships. Faith-based objections have been lodged against inoculations, blood transfusions, birth control, abortion, end-of-life treatment and so on. Must every future medical innovation be compelled to run a religious gauntlet? Will every newly concocted religion be permitted to challenge medical procedures long deemed essential and effective?
NATIONAL
January 3, 2014 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - Obama administration lawyers strongly urged Justice Sonia Sotomayor and her fellow Supreme Court members to drop an appeal from the Little Sisters of the Poor and other Catholic groups who object to the so-called contraceptive mandate in the new healthcare law. Nonprofit religious charities already can opt out of the requirement to pay for insurance coverage for contraceptives and therefore have nothing to complain about, U.S. Solicitor...
NATIONAL
January 2, 2014 | By David G. Savage and Noam N. Levey
WASHINGTON - The intensifying Supreme Court clash over whether birth control should be required under President Obama's signature healthcare law has revealed just how deep divisions remain between administration officials and Catholic leaders over where to draw the line between religious freedom and women's reproductive rights. After more than two years of negotiations, a compromise that satisfies everyone appears out of reach, likely leaving the matter for high court justices to decide later this year.
NATIONAL
December 31, 2013 | By David G. Savage and Maeve Reston
WASHINGTON - Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a temporary exemption late Tuesday to a small group of Catholic nuns that shields it from having to comply with a part of President Obama's healthcare law that requires it to provide contraceptive coverage in its insurance plans. She acted on an emergency appeal from lawyers for the group who said the nuns faced "draconian fines" beginning on New Year's Day if they failed to comply with the law widely known as Obamacare. Sotomayor gave the government until Friday to file a response in the case.
NEWS
December 6, 2013 | By Paul Thornton
Can a business like Hobby Lobby legitimately claim religious freedom in its legal battle against the Affordable Care Act's mandate that insurance plans cover drugs some people believe cause abortions? Notre Dame law professor Richard W. Garnett argued on The Times' Op-Ed page Thursday that Hobby Lobby -- which, he notes, closes its stores on Sundays so its employees can go to church, has Christian music as its stores' background music and doesn't sell shot glasses -- has the beliefs of its owners so embedded in its business practices that requiring it to cover abortifacients would indeed violate its religious freedoms.  So far, readers have bristled at Garnett's argument.
OPINION
November 28, 2013
Re "Birth control cases head to Supreme Court," Nov. 27 Individuals incorporate their businesses, in part, to be afforded certain shields against individual liability. Those corporations are by definition separate from the individual owners. In taking advantage of a corporate shield and its benefits, as Hobby Lobby has, it seems that the individuals relinquish the right to assert that the corporation is an extension of their personal beliefs while using that same corporation as a shield against personal liability.
NATIONAL
November 26, 2013 | By David G. Savage
WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to jump into a growing legal dispute between the Obama administration and businesses run by conservative Christians over whether a company must pay for birth control drugs that conflict with its owner's religious beliefs. The decision to hear the cases, which could affect millions of women with employer-provided health plans, means that for a second time, the justices will decide the fate of a key part of President Obama's healthcare law. Last year, the court in a 5-4 decision upheld the requirement that individuals obtain basic health insurance or pay a tax penalty.
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