Immediate Release
March 9, 2020

Little Sisters of the Poor


Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania 

 (consolidated with Trump v. Pennsylvania)

Nos. 19-431 & 19-454
United States Supreme Court

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Independent Women’s Law Center (IWLC) filed an amicus brief on Monday in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania, arguing not only that the government may exempt religious objectors from its contraceptive mandate, but that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requires the government to do so.

This is the third time over the course of a decade that the Supreme Court has been forced to step in to protect the conscience rights of Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic women religious serving the elderly poor in over 30 countries around the world. Independent Women’s Forum has twice previously filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in support of the Sisters.

Little Sisters seek exemption from the birth control mandate of the Affordable Care Act, arguing that the government could easily achieve its policy goal without forcing them to violate their deeply held religious beliefs.

The government’s unlawful regulation of the Little Sisters has harmed the order in tangible ways: For nearly ten years, the order has diverted scarce resources from its core charitable mission in order to fight regulatory overreach that puts not only their conscience rights but their entire organization in jeopardy.  

Jennifer C. Braceras, director of Independent Women’s Law Center, issued the following statement: “Enough is enough. The government has no business forcing women who are members of aCatholic religious order to endorse birth control practices that violate the tenets of their faith — a faith that informs their charitable work and to which these women have dedicated their entire lives.” 

Erin M. Hawley, senior legal fellow at IWLC, added: “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 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc: Americans—whether they operate for-profit or non-profit ventures—do not check their religious liberty rights at the office or charitable door.”

IWLC believes the contraceptive mandate clearly impinges on the religious liberty of these women who have dedicated their lives to serving others and urges the Supreme Court to hold that a federal law compels the government to allow a religious exemption to the Affordable Care Act.

Read the full brief HERE.


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Independent Women’s Law Center advocates for equal opportunity, individual liberty, and respect for the American constitutional order.