Less than a week after the Supreme Court heard the case of the Little Sisters of the Poor (Zubik v. Burwell), the Court made an unprecedented move asking both sides to provide additional arguments about whether the government could find ways to distribute contraceptives without the involvement of religious non-profits and their health plans.
The Little Sisters had been saying since the case began that there were many other ways for the government to meet all of its goals without using the Little Sisters' plan. So, when the Court asked if there were other ways and if the Little Sisters would accept them, "Yes" was an easy and obvious answer.
The government has many ways to achieve its goals and has admitted as much in its initial briefing and its response to the Supreme Court compromise.
But in its final brief, the government argued that contraceptive-only plans—one of the most obvious solutions—were unworkable. This was a bizarre final argument since the federal government currently provides separate contraceptive-only coverage to millions of people through Medicaid (and even referenced this program in its initial SCOTUS brief defending its decision to exempt tens of millions of women with secular employers from the mandate).
The fact is that there are a lot of solutions available, including contraceptive-only policies. The Supreme Court has recognized this. And the Little Sisters have always believed it is possible to find solutions that work for all sides.
The Little Sisters of the Poor have never sought to prevent the government from providing these services, but have simply asked that the government pick a way that doesn't force them to deliver services—like the week-after pill—that violate their faith.
Please keep scrolling down to learn more about the Little Sisters and the facts behind this case.