Press Release – For Immediate Release
Washington, D.C. (May 5, 2020)
On May 6th, the U.S. Supreme Court is again hearing oral arguments about whether the Little Sisters of the Poor (“Little Sisters”) and other religious organizations deserve to have their religious freedom rights protected from government coercion.
“Right now, more than any time in recent history, our country is seeing the heroic sacrifice of health care workers and care givers, including the Little Sisters. Many of these health care workers and care givers, like the Little Sisters, come from religious organizations that put everything on the line because of love for God and neighbor. I cannot imagine where our country would be without religious organizations during the COVID-19 Pandemic,” said Louis Brown, J.D., Executive Director of the Christ Medicus Foundation.
“It is a sad day in America, when the Little Sisters of the Poor are again forced to seek the protection of the Supreme Court to vindicate their right to freely exercise their religious freedom and serve the elderly and vulnerable. Instead of trying to force religious organizations to violate their deeply held religious beliefs about the nature of the human person, the state governments who are parties to this case should let the Little Sisters serve,” Brown continued.
The Little Sisters essentially already have won once before at the U.S. Supreme Court. In the 2016 case, Zubik v. Burwell, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Little Sisters had a legitimate right under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to exercise their religious objection to complying with the then U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate that would have forced them to participate in providing contraceptive health insurance coverage to their employees. The Court ruled that the federal government should find a compromise that would protect the rights of the Little Sisters who for over 100 years have served the elderly and vulnerable in homes throughout the United States. The incoming Trump Administration in 2017 issued an HHS regulation seeking to comply with the U.S. Supreme Court’s opinion by exempting religious nonprofits, such as the Little Sisters, from being forced to provide contraceptive coverage in their employer health care plans. In response, the state of Pennsylvania and others sued the federal government in attempts to strike down the new federal regulation that would have protected the religious freedom rights of so many.
“If Pennsylvania and other states had their way, the federal government would be severely restricted from using religious accommodations to protect the fundamental right of religious freedom for religious organizations. We hope and pray that the Supreme Court will uphold the religious freedoms of the Little Sisters and other religious organizations who simply seek to love and serve others free of coercion and persecution,” said Brown.