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California Abortion Activists push Little Sisters of the Poor back to Court

Abortionists from California and Pennsylvania forced the Little Sisters of the Poor back to Court last week to overturn the protections issued by the Trump administration.

In the summer of 2017, the White House began taking steps to roll back the Obamacare birth control mandate as a part of Trump’s campaign promise to protect religious employers. In June of 2017, President Trump instructed federal officials to draft a rule that would allow religious employers to opt out of the Mandate in their healthcare options offered to their employees.

The Mandate requiring that all employers offer abortion inducing contraceptives was one of the most controversial tenets of Obamacare that rose to national attention through challenges to mandate by organizations such as Hobby Lobby, and Little Sister’s of the Poor, who refused to offer their employees healthcare plans that included paying for contraceptives and abortifacients that ended life after conception. Hobby Lobby’s decision to stand for morality cost them millions in fines and threatened to put them out of business. Ultimately, the Supreme Court ended up striking down this key portion of Obamacare in 2014, siding with Hobby Lobby and ruling that businesses should not and cannot be required to offer contraceptive coverage to their employees if the contraceptives violate the business owner’s sincerely held religious beliefs. To do so would be a violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

In November of 2018 the Trump administration released two final rules regarding businesses who have religious objections to purchasing healthcare options that cover their employees’ use of abortion inducing drugs.  The exemption had two rules protecting entities and individuals with religious objections to the mandate, as well as nonprofit organizations, small businesses, and individuals with non-religious but moral opposition to such coverage.

In 2017, the attorneys general in California and Pennsylvania wanted to force Catholic nuns to violate their sincerely held religious beliefs, so the Little Sisters of the Poor headed back to court to defend their constitutional rights to operate their organization according to their consciences.
Josh Shapiro, attorney general for Pennsylvania and Xavier Becca, attorney general for California are so against religious liberty and conscience protections that they think attacking nuns is politically expedient.

On Thursday of last week the Becket Fund represented the Little Sisters of the Poor in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and again on Friday at the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The Becket Fund released a statement prior to oral arguments:

The Little Sisters of the Poor will be in Pennsylvania and California federal courts today and tomorrow defending themselves from lawsuits by state Attorneys General Josh Shapiro (PA) and Xavier Becerra (CA), which threaten their ministry of serving the elderly poor. In Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Trump and State of California v. HHS, the order of Catholic nuns is asking the court to protect their religious exemption to the HHS mandate, which was finalized in November, following a four-year legal battle that went all the way to the Supreme Court. The new rule protects religious non-profits, including the Little Sisters, from providing services such as the week-after pill in their health care plans. Yet California and Pennsylvania are suing to take those rights away, forcing the Little Sisters back to court. Becket is defending the Little Sisters of the Poor, arguing that the new rule is a sensible protection of their religious belief and is required by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The court will hear the cases Thursday and Friday and must decide whether the Little Sisters of the Poor can focus on their vital ministry of caring for the elderly poor.

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