The Solicitor General recently weighed in to support the Little Sisters of the Poor in their fight against the state of Pennsylvania. The Solicitor General cited to the brief filed by Independent Women’s Law Center and agreed that a religious exemption for women religious, like the Little Sisters, is both authorized by and required by the bipartisan Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
The underlying case involves Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Catholic women serving the elderly poor and dying. Under the Affordable Care Act, the previous administration sought to require the Little Sisters to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives that violate their deeply held religious beliefs. The Little Sisters sought exemption from that birth control mandate, arguing that the government could easily achieve its policy goal without forcing them to violate their conscience rights.
In a case that is all about women, Independent Women’s Law Center is the sole women’s organization to file in support the order of female religious. The National Women’s Law Center and 53 other women’s organizations filed a brief against the Little Sisters.The Supreme Court has already twice ruled in favor of the Little Sisters, and IWLC expects the Court to do so again.