Fox News' Bret Baier misleadingly called the Zubik v. Burwell case a “David versus Goliath story” claiming the case deals with, “Catholic nuns who want nothing more than to serve God and help their fellow man but they do not want anything to do with abortion.” On March 23, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell, a consolidated case brought by religious nonprofits challenging a process for opting out of the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) contraception mandate. These groups argue that the process of opting out of providing insurance coverage for forms of contraception that they falsely deem “abortifacients” poses a “substantial burden” to their religious beliefs, a claim right-wing media have endorsed. Medical experts argue, however, that covered contraceptives are not a form of abortion, noting that they “do not interrupt established pregnancy” and do not fit “the medical definition of abortion.” From the March 23 edition of Fox News' Special Report with Bret Baier:
BRET BAIER (HOST): Now to a real life David versus Goliath story. In the role of David, The Little Sisters Of The Poor, Catholic nuns who want nothing more than to serve God and help their fellow man but they do not want anything to do with abortion. And that's where Goliath comes in. On this, the sixth anniversary of the signing of Obamacare. Chief legal correspondent, Shannon Bream, is at the Supreme Court tonight.
SHANNON BREAM: For the fourth time, a challenge to the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare has once again reached the U.S. Supreme Court. 37 plaintiffs including The Little Sisters Of The Poor have joined together to fight the HHS mandate which requires most employers to provide a wide array of contraceptives to their employees cost-free, including those critics believe can trigger an abortion.
BREAM: The administration says it has provided an accommodation for religious groups by having them sign a paper that would allow all contraceptives to be provided to employees via their health plans, but with no cost to the employers. The objectors say that's not the point, that they don't want to be complicit in any way. Noting their position today, Chief Justice John Roberts said, quote, “The Petitioner has used the phrase 'hijacking, and it seems to me that that's an accurate description of what the government wants to do. They want to use the mechanism that the The Little Sister and other Petitioners have set up to provide services because they want the coverage to be seamless.” The case fits the religious objections of nonprofit groups against the government's interest in cost-free convenient contraceptive access for working women.
BREAM: As to the government's argument that its interest is the more pressing, Justice Steven Breyer said, quote, “Sometimes when a religious person is a member of society, he does have to accept all kinds of things that are just terrible for him.” While Justice Sonya Sotomayor wondered how the government can continue to function when many religious groups will have objections to specific laws. Quote, “How will we ever have anything that the government can demand people to do that won't be a problem?” Justice Kennedy had tough questions for both sides, but even if conservatives can win his vote, the case would likely end in a tie and essentially that would leave the lower court rulings in place, that would be a loss for The Little Sisters. It is possible that the court holds this case over for a final decision until there's a ninth justice confirmed and seating, sitting on the bench.