The Obama administration appears to be going out of its way to force the Catholic Little Sisters of the Poor to provide birth control, including abortion-causing drugs, in its health insurance plans, contrary to the nuns’ religious beliefs, charges a legal brief in the charity’s lawsuit against the federal government.
“The government’s latest interim rules – the seventh set of revisions to the mandate in 36 months – change nothing of substance in this appeal,” explains a court filing in the dispute between the Obama administration and the order of Catholic nuns who run dozens of homes of the needy and elderly around the world.
”The government easily could have eliminated the need for this appeal,” contends the brief filed Monday with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which is representing the nuns.
The Becket Fund contends the government is hijacking the nuns’ health-care plan “to deliver drugs.”
“It could have exempted the Little Sisters as ‘religious employers’ – just as it would if the Little Sisters’ homes were operated by Catholic bishops,” the brief argues. “… It could have exempted church plans. It could have adopted the ‘most straightforward’ path of just providing contraceptives itself … such as through Title X or tax incentives.
“Most simply, it could just allow employees of religious objectors to purchase subsidized coverage on the government’s own exchanges,” the brief states.
“But instead of these obvious and more direct approaches, the government continues to insist that the only way the United States could possibly distribute contraceptives is with the forced participation of the Little Sisters. … Thus the government seeks to coerce the Little Sisters to participate by giving information about its plan and plan administrators.”
As WND has reported, opposition to the birth-control mandate has generated more than 100 lawsuits by dozens of religious universities, 40 religious charities and a number of Bible publishers.
The Obama administration requires employers to provide contraceptives to employees, even if it violates their deeply held religious beliefs. While there have been hundreds of exemptions created for various interests and groups, the Obama administration refuses to allow the nuns to opt out.
Legal Counsel Daniel Blomberg told WND that because of their lifelong commitment to adhere to biblical teachings, “the Little Sisters can’t provide the drug themselves.”
“They can’t sign a form. They can’t do anything that allows their plan … to be hijacked to deliver the drugs.”
The government had filed a document in the case asking the court to speed up the process to force the nuns to provide contraceptives to employees.
”The Little Sisters cannot do that,” Blomberg told WND. “They are an order of Catholic nuns who are giving their entire lives to proclaiming the inviolate dignity of every person. They focus on the end of life, but they can’t allow their health plan to be hijacked for the beginning of life.”
He pointed out that an organization of Catholic bishops is exempted from the Obamacare demand, because the government assumes their employees agree with the religious pro-life perspective. But for the nuns, that assumption has vanished.
”That’s crazy,” he said. “It should make people’s heads spin.”
Written by BOB UNRUH
Read more at WND