Little Sisters of the Poor v. Obamacare at the Supreme Court

Little_Sisters_1_outside_of_SCOTUS_March_23_2016_Credit_Addie_Mena_CNAToday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for Zubik v. Burwell, a case testing the constitutionality of the Obamacare mandate that requires employers to offer health insurance that includes contraceptives, sterility treatment, and drugs considered abortifacients.

The employers who brought the suit include the Little Sisters of the Poor, Bishop David Zubik of Pittsburgh, the Archdiocese of Washington, and several Christian colleges — all religious nonprofits. Churches and parish schools are exempt from the mandate.

The Obama administration had offered these nonprofits an “accommodation.” If they signed a form stating their objection, the government would require their insurers to provide the services free of charge so the nonprofits wouldn’t be paying for it themselves.

The plaintiffs, however, refused the accommodation on the grounds that no matter who was technically paying, by having to sign the form they were still being forced to cooperate in seriously immoral actions.

As Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire, Mother Provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor, said: “I can’t sign a piece of paper that makes somebody else do what I cannot do myself. It’s my conscience, you know.”

Nonprofits affected include the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, dioceses, Catholic universities, and hundred of hospitals and charities, such as the Little Sister of the Poor.

The ruling is expected to come down in June.

For more news about what happened at the Supreme Court see “Supreme Court Justices: Will the Government ‘Hijack’ Little Sisters’ Health Plan?”