Little Sisters of the Poor Say They Have a Solution to HHS' Birth Control Mandate to Protect Religious Freedom

Nuns Affirm 'Jewish, Muslim, Protestant Faith Leaders All Behind Us'

Pope Francis visited the Little Sisters of the Poor located near Catholic University in Washington D.C. on September 23, 2015.
Pope Francis visited the Little Sisters of the Poor located near Catholic University in Washington D.C. on September 23, 2015. | (Photo: The Beckett Fund for Religious Liberty)

The Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic nuns who are fighting an Obamacare mandate because of their religious objections to contraceptives, have said that all major faith groups in America, including Protestant, Muslim, Jewish, Native American and Hindu leaders, are all behind their cause.

"It's easy to support religious freedom for the majority," said Ossama Bahloul, Imam of The Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, according to a statement released on Tuesday by the The Becket Fund. "But the test of America's commitment to religious diversity and freedom comes when we show we'll defend minorities and those with whom we do not fully agree."

Rabbi Mitchell Rocklin, a member of the Executive Committee of the Rabbinical Council of America, added, "We have great admiration for the Little Sisters who are standing up not just for themselves and the elderly poor they serve but for the rights of all people of faith, including Jews. Their courage is an example to all of us."

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The Becket Fund noted in its statement shared with The Christian Post that a new website has been set up to explain The Little Sisters' case against the Obamacare contraceptives mandate, ahead of a Supreme Court hearing is expected to take place in March.

The Catholic nuns group, which serves and takes care of the elderly poor, suffered a blow back in July after the 10th Circuit Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act mandate does not violate the rights of organizations, since it provides an accommodation that circumvents the organizations to provide birth control and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees.

The Little Sisters group has explained, however, that its issue is not the cost of the coverage, but being forced to participate in a plan that provides contraceptives and abortifacients, which go against Catholic beliefs.

The Little Sisters say the new website also provides a solution to the long-standing issue which both protects religious freedom and the right of the government to offer such services to women who want them.

"Rather than trying to force religious plans to offer these services, the better solution is for the government to provide these services through the ACA healthcare exchange to any employees who want them but can't get them through employer plans," the Little Sisters offers.

As the statement notes, in January over 200 members of Congress sent a brief to the Supreme Court in support of the Little Sisters.

"The government's defense of its so-called 'accommodation' for religious nonprofits — an 'accommodation' that requires petitioners to take an action they believe to be morally wrong — cannot satisfy the strict demands of [Religious Freedom Restoration Act]," the brief contends.

"In questioning petitioners' assertion that the conduct compelled by HHS is morally wrong, the government ignores the repeated commands of this court."

The Catholic organization has insisted that it is not trying to prevent the government from providing such services, but objects to rules that would force the Little Sisters to provide them.

"Giving all women access to contraception through the healthcare exchange is a simpler and fairer way for the government to provide these services to more women while protecting the religious freedom of the Little Sisters, who never wanted this fight and just want to get back to caring for the elderly in need," the website adds.

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