The Little Sisters of the Poor, a religious order that serves the elderly and impoverished, were again in court recently asking for protection from the ObamaCare mandate that tells them they must include contraceptive coverage in their employee health plan.
In 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services, plus the Labor and Treasury Departments, adopted rules which allowed exceptions to ObamaCare’s mandate that employers provide birth control to their employees as part of their health coverage. Many Christian organizations need this religious exemption including the Little Sisters because they are — well — nuns.
A panel for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2 to 1 against this exemption, with Judge J. Clifford Wallace writing for the majority that it “contradicts congressional intent.” Congressional intent — that nuns get free contraception?
Senior Circuit Judge Andrew Kleinfeld pointed out in his dissent that “no affidavits have been submitted from any woman establishing any question in this case about whether they will be deprived of reproductive services or harmed in any way by the modification of the regulation.”
The Little Sisters have been to the Supreme Court about this before.
In 2016 the High Court granted the Little Sisters a religious exemption from ObamaCare’s contraceptive mandate. One year later President Trump issued his executive order requiring that HHS exempt the Little Sisters and other religious ministries. Several states challenged this. The California attorney general argued that the exemption allows employers to use religious beliefs to discriminate against employees.
The Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan wrote of the good that religious charities like the Little Sisters do for the poor in society. She expressed her hope that this time the Supreme Court “will, please God, affirm, with clarity and force, the constitutional rights without which they cannot exist.”
“Oh Progressives,” she wrote, “if you only had the wisdom to back off, to see your demands as…the opposite of live and let live.”