WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed to consider the legality of Trump administration rules that broadened moral and religious exemptions to an Affordable Care Act provision requiring employer-provided health-insurance plans to cover birth control with no out-of-pocket costs.
The justices said Friday they would hear the administration’s appeal of lower- court decisions that blocked the rules nationwide. A Philadelphia-based U.S. appeals court in July ruled the administration’s exemptions likely weren’t authorized under the 2010 health-care law and weren’t required by a different federal law protecting religious rights. The court also agreed to hear a related appeal by the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Roman Catholic nuns that operates nursing homes.
In the case before the court, Pennsylvania and New Jersey sued the administration, arguing that its exemptions would unlawfully deny preventive health care to millions of women.
The case will mark the third time the Supreme Court has taken up similar questions about the applicability of the contraception mandate, which has been hotly disputed since the Obama administration began implementing it after the Affordable Care Act’s enactment.
Churches have always been exempt from the mandate, but there has been considerable litigation over whether employers with religious affiliations or strong religious or moral objections to contraception must comply.
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