Little Sisters of the Poor forced back to court
by Kiley Crossland
Posted 1/15/19, 11:30 am
Rulings this week from federal judges in California and Pennsylvania have forced an order of Catholic nuns to continue a five-year legal battle to defend its religious exemption to the federal contraceptive and abortifacient mandate. The Little Sisters of the Poor fought for freedom of conscience all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2016 ordered the federal government to negotiate with the nuns on an acceptable exemption to the Obamacare mandate that they provide contraceptive and abortifacient health coverage for employees. Soon after, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a new rule that protected the Little Sisters and other religious nonprofit organizations from the mandate. Regulations set to go into effect on Monday would have expanded the exemptions to other employers, including publicly traded companies, with religious or moral objections to contraceptive or abortifacient use. But this week’s rulings block those exceptions and allow legal challenges by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro to move forward.
“We never wanted this fight, and we regret that after a long legal battle it is not over,” Mother Loraine Marie Maguire of the Little Sisters of the Poor said Monday. “We pray that we can once again devote our lives to our ministry of serving the elderly poor as we have for over 175 years without being forced to violate our faith.”
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Kiley is a former WORLD correspondent.