Published November 25, 2017
Two states are suing to overturn an exemption from providing contraceptives to employees that President Trump granted to an order of Catholic nuns, verturning of the Obamacare abortion.
The Little Sisters of the Poor, which was established in the mid-19th century to care for the elderly and sick, will be forced back to court to defend themselves against Pennsylvania and California, which aim to take away their exemption from the recent Health and Human Services rule, according to LifeNews.com.
The order says that the current administration will ease regulations imposed by the preventative services mandate onto religious objectors. But the two states' attorneys general say that Christian organizations like the Little Sisters should not be able to enjoy the protections. A blocking of the ruling would effectively force the Little Sisters of the Poor to pay for abortion services.
The mandate originally required that all employers, including non-church religious organizations, must cover all forms of contraception, including abortion, at no cost to their employees.
On Oct. 6, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued guidelines to all administrative agencies regarding protections of religious liberty within the federal law regarding the executive order carried out by President Donald Trump with a list of principles that could be used to ensure the religious freedoms of Americans are protected in a lawful manner.
Some of the principles include:
• “The freedom of religion extends to persons and organizations.”
• “Americans do not give up their freedom of religion by participating in the marketplace, partaking of the public square, or interacting with government.”
• Government “may not restrict acts or abstentions because of the beliefs they display.”
But the new lawsuits appear to be an apparent attempt by both states to block the recent order signed by President Trump.
“Sadly [Pennsylvania Attorney General] Josh Shapiro and [California Attorney General] Xavier Becerra think attacking nuns is a way to score political points,” Mark Rienzi, senior counsel at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, and lead attorney for the Little Sisters of the Poor, said to LifeNews. “These men may think their campaign donors want them to sue nuns, but our guess is most taxpayers disagree. No one needs nuns in order to get contraceptives, and no one needs these guys reigniting the last administration’s divisive and unnecessary culture war.”
When the Trump administration announced in October the major rollback of the ObamaCare contraceptive mandate, Republican lawmakers and faith-based groups hailed the decision as a win for religious liberty. However, Democratic officials and groups like Planned Parenthood accused the administration of attacking women’s rights and groups like the American Civil Liberties Union, announcing at the time that it would file a lawsuit to challenge the change.
The decision was cheered at the time by representatives for the Little Sisters of the Poor, who took their mandate challenge to the Supreme Court — which in turn punted the case to the lower courts last year.