President Donald Trump and an order of pro-life nuns achieved a solid victory at the United States Supreme Court on Wednesday as the high court ruled that the Trump administration acted within its authority to provide an exemption to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) for the Little Sisters of the Poor, a group of Catholic nuns who have been at the center of a national debate over faith vs. Obamacare.
This ruling means the sisters will not have to violate their religious beliefs and can opt-out of the Obamacare provision that requires employers to provide contraception coverage to their employees.
BREAKING:2 major Supreme Court opinions AFFIRMING religious freedom under First Amendment. Religious schools protected from radical left. Little Sisters won't be forced to subsidize abortion under #Obamacare. Big victory for @RealDonaldTrump efforts to protect religious freedom!
— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) July 8, 2020
The court ruled 7-2 in favor of the Trump administration and the Catholic charity. Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the conservative majority. “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,” Justice Clarence Thomas wrote in the majority opinion. “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. We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. We further hold that the rules promulgating these exemptions are free from procedural defects.”
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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the extreme minority, “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.” Justice Sonia Sotomayor is the other dissenter.
The Catholic nuns had previously commented, “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 way, to be holding the hand of the dying elderly, and on the other hand, to possibly be facilitating the taking of innocent unborn life.”
Conservatives hailed the decision. Judicial Crisis Network Vice President and Senior Counsel Frank Scaturro tweeted, “It is outrageous that the Obama administration forced a group of nuns to violate their religious beliefs in the first place. The Court’s decision today upholding that exemption is a victory for freedom of religion and conscience—for the Little Sisters and for everyone. Let’s be thankful that the Little Sisters’ ordeal in court has finally ended.”
Liberals bitterly criticized the decision. “This is a shameful decision from the Supreme Court,” said Bridgitte Amiri, the deputy director of the ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project. “Religious liberty is a fundamental right, but it does not grant a license to discriminate. Denying employees and students coverage for birth control will limit their ability to decide whether and when to have a family and make other decisions about their futures. And it will exacerbate existing inequalities, falling hardest on people with the fewest resources and people of color.”
But Marjorie Dannenfelser, the president of the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List, successfully countered the ACLU: “Today is a major victory for President Trump, who has courageously fought to protect the Little Sisters of the Poor from the Obama-Biden HHS abortifacient mandate. We commend President Trump for standing strong for the Little Sisters of the Poor – his record stands in stark contrast to that of Joe Biden, who helped launch this assault as Obama’s Vice President nearly a decade ago.”
This piece was written by PoliZette Staff on July 8, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.
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