Oh, When Will They Ever Learn? Once Again, Government Tries to Force Nuns to Pay for Abortions (Round Four)
How many times does the U.S. Supreme Court have to issue a ruling before government officials comply?
Three times the nuns of the Catholic charity Little Sisters of the Poor had to go to the Supreme Court to obtain a ruling that Pennsylvania and the federal government could not require them to provide contraceptives and abortifacients, in violation of their core beliefs. While houses of worship are exempt from this requirement, religious organizations like the Little Sisters of the Poor that provide services to needy people, regardless of faith, were being held to a different standard.
Now it is the turn of many more Catholic and Protestant orders, including the nuns of the Anglican Sisterhood of Saint Mary, to have to petition the court in order to stay true to their faith. The Becket law practice reports that this case arose after the New York State Department of Financial Services also tried to narrow existing exemptions to exclude religious ministries that serve people regardless of faith.
“It’s a perverse standard,” said Gene Schaerr, general counsel of Protect The First. “If an order lovingly reaches out to the suffering, the elderly and the dying of other faiths, they are put under a more restrictive, punitive standard – one that would force them to either violate central tenets of their faith, or abandon their mission.”
Now multiple orders of Catholic and Anglican nuns, Catholic dioceses and Protestant churches are petitioning the Supreme Court in Diocese of Albany v. Lacewell.
Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket said: “New York’s failure to learn from the Little Sisters’ saga that you can’t make nuns pay for abortions is beyond reason. The Court needs to step in and teach New York that lesson.”