This week, the Independent Women’s Law Center filed a brief in Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania (consolidated with Trump v. Pennsylvania) urging the Supreme Court to, once and for all, determine that the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic women, are exempt from the contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act.
The contraceptive mandate clearly impinges on the liberty of religious women. This case is about more than contraceptives and religious orders; it is about empowering charitable employers, many of them women like the Little Sisters, to follow their deeply held religious convictions. IWLC believes the Court meant what it said in Hobby Lobby: Americans—whether they operate for-profit or non-profit ventures—do not check their religious liberty rights at the office or charitable door.
The previous administration’s imposition of the mandate has harmed women of faith and resulted in expansive litigation over the course of a decade. The initial religious exemption was historically narrow and did not cover the Little Sisters. When HHS broadened the religious exemption to include religious nonprofits, states filed suit arguing that the government could not exempt the Little Sisters of the Poor from the contraceptive mandate.
The never-ending litigation has serious real-world consequences for women of faith. For nearly ten years, the Little Sisters have diverted scarce resources away from their core charitable mission of helping the elderly poor in order to fight regulatory overreach that puts not only their conscience rights but their entire organization in jeopardy. In fact, IWF has twice previously filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in support of the Little Sisters.
IWLC’s brief argues that enough is enough. It is time for the Supreme Court to hold that the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act requires a religious exemption to the Affordable Care Act. That’s the only way to protect the conscience rights of women like the Little Sisters are firmly and permanently protected.
Read the brief HERE.