WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Despite the best efforts of the Obama Administration, the Supreme Court of the United States decided on Friday afternoon to temporarily block enforcement of the Affordable Care Act on behalf of the Little Sisters of the Poor. The new ruling allows the religious order to avoid the crushing penalties of failing to adhere to the mandate while their legal challenge proceeds by informing the HHS in writing that they are a non-profit group “that hold themselves out as religious and have religious objections to providing coverage for contraceptive services.”

The ruling comes after lawyers for the nuns pointed out that in order to claim their exemption, the administration is requiring the nuns to sign a “permission slip” that would allow their insurance company to offer coverage of contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, and sterilization over the nuns' objections.

The Sisters argue that participating in the process in any way would make them party to mortal sin. Even the fact that the government would pay the insurer for the coverage, and so costs would not fall on the Sisters, fails to address this concern, they say.

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An earlier ruling by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor allowing the Little Sisters protection from enforcement of the mandate was challenged by the Obama Administration.

According to Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Matt Bowman, to date, in 20 decisions involving non-profit organizations, all but one have resulted in an injunction barring enforcement of the mandate. Additionally, 35 out of 41 injunctions handed down involving families and businesses have also blocked the mandate.

With files from LifeSiteNews correspondent Dustin Siggins.