Acton Institute Powerblog

Court: Nuns Must Comply with ObamaCare’s Contraceptive Mandate

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little-sistersEarlier today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that the Little Sisters must comply with the government’s mandate to provide contraceptives for employees. The district court ruled the Little Sisters cannot receive a full exemption from the law’s contraception rules because they “do not substantially burden plaintiffs’ religious exercise or violate the plaintiffs’ First Amendment rights.”

The nuns disagree. “As Little Sisters of the Poor, we simply cannot choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith,” says Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor. “And we should not have to make that choice, because it violates our nation’s commitment to ensuring that people from diverse faiths can freely follow God’s calling in their lives.”

“For over 175 years, we have served the neediest in society with love and dignity,” added Sr. Maguire. “All we ask is to be able to continue our religious vocation free from government intrusion.”

The court held that participating in the government’s contraception delivery scheme is “as easy as obtaining a parade permit, filing a simple tax for, or registering to vote” and that although the Sisters sincerely believe that participating in the scheme “make[s] them complicit in the overall delivery scheme,” the court “ultimately rejects the merits of this claim,” because the court believes the scheme relieves [the Little Sisters] from complicity.”

“It is a national embarrassment that the world’s most powerful government insists that, instead of providing contraceptives through its own existing exchanges and programs, it must crush the Little Sisters’ faith and force them to participate,” says Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and lead attorney for the Little Sisters of the Poor. “Untold millions of people have managed to get contraceptives without involving nuns, and there is no reason the government cannot run its programs without hijacking the Little Sisters and their health plan.”

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the Little Sisters’ lawsuit, vows they will keep fighting, “even if that means having to go all the way to the Supreme Court.”

Joe Carter Joe Carter is a Senior Editor at the Acton Institute. Joe also serves as an editor at the The Gospel Coalition, a communications specialist for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and as an adjunct professor of journalism at Patrick Henry College. He is the editor of the NIV Lifehacks Bible and co-author of How to Argue like Jesus: Learning Persuasion from History's Greatest Communicator (Crossway).

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