(HARRISBURG, PA – July 8, 2020) Pennsylvania Family Institute applauds today’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Little Sisters of the Poor v Pennsylvania, a case dealing with religious exemption to the HHS mandate requiring coverage of abortion-causing drugs in employer-sponsored insurance plans.

“The Little Sisters of the Poor are heroes and should be honored for their compassionate service, not continually attacked in court,” says Randall Wenger, Chief Counsel for the Pennsylvania Family Institute. “These women just want to serve God by serving the elderly – and not have to violate their beliefs to do so. That’s why today’s ruling is so appreciated.”

The Little Sisters of the Poor is a community of women founded nearly 200 years ago whose mission is to care for the elderly. They serve in retirement homes, some of the hardest hit places for the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Over the last few months, these women have truly been on the frontlines, often being the only person present to comfort patients dying from COVID-19. “In many ways, the Little Sisters were founded for a moment like this: The nuns take a special vow of hospitality, promising to accompany the elderly as they move toward death,” writes The Atlantic.

Since 2013, the Little Sisters have been in various courts defending their religious beliefs against the Obama Administration’s HHS mandate that required employers to provide abortion-causing drugs in their insurance plans. In 2016, SCOTUS ruled in favor of the Little Sisters. After the Trump administration instituted new regulations to protect groups like the Little Sisters, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro sued the Trump administration to block these regulations and remove religious protections. Thus, the Little Sisters were forced to return to court to protect their pro-life religious convictions.

“While we’re grateful for today’s ruling, Little Sisters should never have needed to go back to court to begin with,” says Michael Geer, President of the Pennsylvania Family Institute. “And PA taxpayers should never have been forced to back Shapiro’s legal attack.”

As Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the court’s opinion: “[F]or the past seven years, [the Little Sisters]—like many other religious objectors who have participated in the litigation and rulemakings leading up to today’s decision—have had to fight for the ability to continue in their noble work without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs. After two decisions from this Court and multiple failed regulatory attempts, the Federal Government has arrived at a solution that exempts the Little Sisters from the source of their complicity-based concerns—the administratively imposed contraceptive mandate.”


Pennsylvania Family Institute is the Commonwealth’s largest pro-life, pro-family statewide organization. For media requests, contact Dan at 717-545-0600 or dbart@pafamily.org.

Photos: Becket