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Culture

SCOTUS Rules In Favor Of Little Sisters Of The Poor, Exempting Religious Groups From Providing Contraception Coverage

By Paula Gallagher·· 3 min read
little sisters supreme court case
Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

After seven years, the Little Sisters of the Poor — a Roman Catholic order of nuns who care for the sick, elderly, and dying — have won their Supreme Court case.

Sister Constance Veit told Shannon Bream from Fox News, "We dedicate our lives to this because we believe in the dignity of every human life at every stage of life from conception until natural death. So, we've devoted our lives — by religious vows — to caring for the elderly. And, we literally are by their bedside holding their hand as they pass on to eternal life. So, it's unthinkable for us, on the one hand, to be holding the hand of the dying elderly, and on the other hand, to possibly be facilitating the taking of innocent unborn life."

"It's unthinkable for us to possibly be facilitating the taking of innocent unborn life."

On July 8, the Supreme Court ruled to expand exemptions to the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that employers provide contraception as part of their health insurance.

In a 7-2 ruling, the Court upheld the validity of a Trump administration rule that permitted religiously-affiliated groups and companies to choose to not provide contraception as part of their employees’ health insurance coverage. 

Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented. Justice Ginsburg voiced her concerns that the Supreme Court was prioritizing religious rights over women’s reproductive rights: "Today, for the first time, the Court casts totally aside countervailing rights and interests in its zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree. Destructive of the Women’s Health Amendment, this Court leaves women workers to fend for themselves, to seek contraceptive coverage from sources other than their employer’s insurer, and, absent another available source of funding, to pay for contraceptive services out of their own pockets."

SCOTUS has exempted religious groups from providing contraception.

The majority opinion was written by Justice Clarence Thomas, who stated that the Trump administration “had the authority to provide exemptions from the regulatory contraceptive requirements for employers with religious and conscientious objections.”

Justice Thomas continued, "For over 150 years, the Little Sisters have engaged in faithful service and sacrifice, motivated by a religious calling to surrender all for the sake of their brother. But for the past seven years, they — like many other religious objectors who have participated in the litigation and rulemakings leading up to today’s decision — have had to fight for the ability to continue in their noble work without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs."

SCOTUS’s ruling is a victory for the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious groups who are against contraception for religious and moral reasons. 

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