Little Sisters of the Poor file lawsuit to stop HHS from forcing them to fund contraception coverage
posted at 8:41 am on September 25, 2013 by Ed Morrissey
In any other context, this would be political satire. Instead, it’s a tragedy for religious liberty and just plain old common sense. A group of Catholic nuns dedicated to social service — and, needless to say, chastity — had to file a lawsuit in Colorado to block enforcement of the HHS contraception mandate on their organization:
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius finalized a contraception mandate that ignores the fact groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor are religious organizations, according to a lawsuit filed to protect them against fines for refusing to comply with an Obamacare mandate.
“We cannot violate our vows by participating in the government’s program to provide access to abortion-inducing drugs,” Sister Loraine Marie said of a class-action lawsuit filed against the mandate on behalf of multiple religious organizations that provide health benefits.
Here are the employees of the LSP that HHS’ mandate insists have a need for employer-provided contraception:
Yes, these women certainly will be oppressed unless HHS rescues them by forcing their employer to subsidize their sexual activity.
Joel Gehrke reports that the Thomas Becket Fund for Religious Liberty has taken the case for the Sisters. The suit has been filed in Colorado, where the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an injunction against the mandate on behalf of Hobby Lobby this summer. That’s a key for the Little Sisters, as Hobby Lobby had a tougher argument as a commercial operation for a religious exemption, and the precedent should work in their favor. In fact, the only reason LSP doesn’t qualify for the HHS definition of their exemption now is because LSP services people regardless of religious faith, as their Catholic mission to the world demands.
Becket senior counsel Mark Rienzl put it well to the Washington Examiner:
“These women just want to take care of the elderly poor without being forced to violate the faith that animates their work. The money they collect should be used to care for the poor like it always has — and not to pay the IRS,” he said.
Any law that requires a lawsuit to get to that common-sense conclusion should be thrown out, as well as the politicians that passed it.