Catholic charity organization, the Little Sisters of the Poor, is back in the news this week, not for the over 13,000 elderly poor they serve in 31 countries, but because pro-abortion government officials are trying to force them to pay for contraception (which is against their deeply held religious beliefs).
On Tuesday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the nuns must pay for contraception, including abortifacients (abortion-inducing drugs), as part of their health insurance plan – the HHS contraception mandate established by Obamacare. This ruling comes after the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, here in Pennsylvania, ruled the same.
Josh Shapiro, our own Pennsylvania Attorney General, elected in 2016, is proudly working to force the Little Sisters of the Poor, and charities like them, to pay for abortifacients even though it is against their deeply held religious beliefs. One of the top donors to his 2016 campaign was Planned Parenthood, and his first television ad touted this endorsement. Shapiro announced his lawsuit against the nuns at the largest Pennsylvania abortion clinic run by Planned Parenthood, where 4,450 babies lost their lives in 2016.
The name Little Sisters of the Poor may sound familiar to you. They won a U.S. Supreme Court case on this very issue in 2016. The highest court in the land said that the government needed “to arrive at an approach going forward that accommodates the petitioners’ religious beliefs.” The Trump administration complied by issuing a new federal rule in 2017 that exempted non-church religious nonprofits from the mandate. Then AG Shapiro and other attorneys general in several states sued the Trump administration and the Little Sisters of the Poor to overturn this federal rule and force the nuns to pay for abortifacients.
The Independence Law Center won a U.S. Supreme Court case in 2014 in Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, decided alongside Hobby Lobby, representing a Lancaster County business owned and founded by the Hahn family, conservative Mennonites.
Now, the nuns are petitioning the U.S. Supreme Court once again seeking relief from this assault from elected officials like AG Shapiro who would rather see these charities forced to close than to allow them the religious freedom to value life over death in their health insurance plans.
We’ll keep you posted.
By Emily Kreps, Legal Assistant.