The past two days brought both bad news for women and their unborn children, but hope for the Little Sisters of the Poor religious freedom case.
Today, 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?”
Late on April 30, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.J. Res. 43, a resolution to overturn the “Reproductive Health Nondiscrimination Amendment Act (RHNDA), a local law passed by the District of Columbia’s city council.
The National Right to Life Committee strongly supported the resolution to stop the RHNDA Act. The vote was 228-192.
Unfortunately, the Senate chose not to vote on the resolution, so the RHNDA took effect over the weekend in D.C.
Under RHNDA, prolife Washington, DC,-based employers (like the National Right to Life Committee) could be forced to hire people who advocate for abortion because not to do so would be “discrimination.”
Under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, Congress has the right to review and overturn laws created by the city council.
Rep. Nita Lowy, who represents Rockland County in the House of Representatives, voted to uphold the RHNDA Act.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), announced candidate for the presidency in 2016, released a statement urging his colleages in the Senate to strike down the RHNDA, and a spokesperson for Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky), also a candidate, wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call on Monday that “Sen. Paul has always been strongly opposed to the government usurping the constitutional rights of American citizens, and will continue to fight to preserve our nation’s religious freedom.”
Tom Lynch, of the Thomas More Law Center, will be speaking on “Defending the Sanctity of Human Life” and other important topics on Sunday, Oct. 28. Please come and learn how the Law Center fights for laws protecting unborn human life, free speech rights of prolife demonstrators and sidewalk counselors, and the rights of conscience for medical professionals. Tom is the son of Betty Lynch of Nanuet.
We begin our Vigil for LIFE and America at 10 am at the Marian Shrine in Stony Point, N.Y. Fr. Bill Bucciferro and Jim are getting ready to process to begin Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Continue reading
Let the pulpit resound with the doctrine and sentiments of religious liberty. Let us hear of the dignity of man’s nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God… Let it be known that British liberties are not the grants of princes and parliaments.
— John Adams
Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1765
What the HHS Mandate means for the Sisters of Life
“As a result, this mandate would coerce each and every individual Sister of Life to betray her religious vows. We will be forced to pay for “services” that attack human life and deny the truth and beauty of human sexuality. This would directly contradict our special religious vow to “to protect and enhance the sacredness of human life,” and go against everything we believe in and have devoted our lives to. To us, it would be comparable to a law requiring a spouse to violate their marriage vows — an unthinkable intrusion upon a sacred promise.”
Be part of the VIRTUAL VIGIL for Religious Liberty
Haven’t been able to make it to an religious liberty event or rally? You can take a stand online. Sign up and send a little figure representing you to the virtual vigil — at the base of the Washington Monument.