Appeals court rules against Little Sisters of the Poor in ACA case

A federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday against The Little Sisters of the Poor, who challenged a provision in the Affordable Care Act that requires employers provide insurance to cover contraception.

Religious groups generally are exempt from covering contraceptives, but the Little Sisters and four Christian colleges argued they should not need to sign away the coverage because they still feel they are a link in the chain that provides contraceptives.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appleals ruled that because the Little Sisters had to option of transferring the coverage to a third party, they did not show that the ACA mandate was an onus on their right to exercise freedom of religion.

In a press release, Sr. Loraine Marie Maguire, mother provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor, said, “As Little Sisters of the Poor, we simply cannot choose between our care for the elderly poor and our faith. And we should not have to make that choice, because it violates our nation’s commitment to ensuring that people from diverse faiths can freely follow God’s calling in their lives. For over 175 years, we have served the neediest in society with love and dignity. All we ask is to be able to continue our religious vocation free from government intrusion.”

In another release, Mark, Rienzi, lead attorney, said, “We’re disappointed with today’s decision. After losing repeatedly at the Supreme Court, the government continues its unrelenting pursuit of the Little Sisters of the Poor. It is a national embarrassment that the world’s most powerful government insists, that, instead of providing contraceptives through its own existing exchanges and programs, it must crush the Little Sisters’ faith and force them to participate. Untold millions of people have managed to get contraceptives without involving nuns.”

The Little Sisters said they will consider their next steps, and asked for prayers.

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