January 1

Justice delays health law’s birth control mandate

Sotomayor acted on a request from an organization of Catholic nuns in Denver.

By Jesse J. Holland
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court has thrown a hitch into President Barack Obama’s new health care law by blocking a requirement that some religion-affiliated organizations provide health insurance that includes birth control.

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Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor smiles after receiving a Honorary Doctor of Laws during commencement at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., in May.

The Associated Press

Justice Sonia Sotomayor decided late Tuesday night to block implementation of the contraceptive coverage requirement, only hours before portions of the law would have gone into effect on New Year’s Day.

Sotomayor acted on a request from an organization of Catholic nuns in Denver, the Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged. Its request for an emergency stay had been denied earlier in the day by a federal appeals court.

Sotomayor gave government officials until 10 a.m. EST Friday to respond to her order.

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