Little Sisters Ask Supreme Court for Protection From Obama Admin: 'Don't Make Us Pick Between Faith and the Poor'

A nun working for the Little Sisters of the Poor cares for an elderly patient.
A nun working for the Little Sisters of the Poor cares for an elderly patient. | (Photo: Becket Fund for Religious Liberty)

Catholic organization Little Sisters of the Poor pleaded with the U.S. Supreme Court not to force it to choose between helping the poor and abiding by its faith, when it comes to obiding by the HHS birth control mandate.

"As Little Sisters of the Poor, we offer the neediest elderly of every race and religion a home where they are welcomed as Christ," said Sister Loraine Marie Maguire, mother provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor, according to Catholic News Agency.

"We perform this loving ministry because of our faith," she added, but said that the group "cannot possibly choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith, and we shouldn't have to."

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As with a number of other Catholic institutions in America, The Little Sisters has said that it has a religious objection to the Department of Health and Human Services' birth control mandate, which requires employers to indirectly provide abortion-related health care coverage to employees.

The Supreme Court said in November that it has decided to hear arguments from the nuns, in a decision that was praised by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the Catholic organization.

The Little Sisters filed its brief to the nation's highest court on Monday, arguing that it should be allowed to take advantage of the religious exemptions to houses of worship and affiliated groups that President Barack Obama's administration provided.

Although the government has also provided for an "accommodation" to some objecting religious non-profits, which would allow for the insurer to fund the coverage concerning birth control and other abortion-inducing drugs, the Little Sisters group has argued that the financial costs for the coverage would still be passed on to the employers, and therefore go against their religious beliefs.

"All we ask is that our rights not be taken away," Sister Maguire added. "The government exempts large corporations, small businesses, and other religious ministries from what they are imposing on us — we just want to keep serving the elderly poor as we have always done for 175 years."

The Catholic group was visited by Pope Francis during his tour of America back in September, which Father Federico Lombardi, the papal spokesman, said was a sign of support for their legal fight.

"The Holy Father spoke to each of us individually, from the youngest postulant to our centenarian, and then he spoke to all of us about the importance of our ministry to the elderly," said at the time Sister Constance Veit, Communications Director of the Little Sisters. "We were deeply moved by his encouraging words."

Kishore Jayabalan, director of Istituto Acton in Rome, told The Christian Post in an interview that the Pope's visit was "very important."

"He showed with his actions that he is on the side of the underdog against the behemoth of Obamacare and encourages us all to continue the fight against the powerful," Jayabalan told CP.

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