The Little Sisters of the Poor are an international Roman Catholic Congregation of women, which was founded in 1839 by St. Jeanne Jugan. They operate homes in 31 countries, where they provide loving care for over 13,000 needy elderly persons.
Although the Little Sisters’ homes perform a religious ministry of caring for the elderly poor, they do not fall within the government’s narrow exemption for “religious employers.” Accordingly, beginning on January 1, the Little Sisters will face IRS fines unless they violate their religion by hiring an insurer to provide their employees with contraceptives, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs.
Sarah Torre and Amy Payne from the Heritage Foundation wrote the following report:
Who takes care of poor people when they get old—when they are on their deathbeds? For thousands of people, the answer is Little Sisters of the Poor.
“The elderly are at risk, with no one to speak up for them, no one to stand up and to express to the world and show the world that these people are still valuable,” explains Sister Mary Bernard.
The Little Sisters take care of more than 13,000 poor men and women around the world who are elderly. They dedicate their lives to running homes for these most vulnerable.
As you can imagine, this isn’t a profit-making venture, providing free care for the needy.
Starting in the new year, Obamacare would force these sisters to direct their insurance provider to include abortion-inducing drugs and contraception in their health insurance plan—something that goes against their beliefs. If they don’t, the fine (up to $100 per employee per day) would be in the millions of dollars.
But Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted the sisters a temporary halt on this Obamacare mandate just hours before the New Year’s Eve countdown. The Obama Administration has until 10 a.m. today to respond to the stay.
The Obamacare mandate (also known as the HHS mandate, for Health and Human Services) punishes people like Little Sisters of the Poor for holding beliefs that spur them to compassionate service in the first place.
And they are far from alone. There are now more than 300 individuals, charities, schools, and family businesses suing over the coercive rule.
So far, things aren’t looking good in court for the Obama Administration. To date, federal judges have granted temporary stays against the mandate in nearly 90 percent of the cases they’ve considered, including a flurry of injunctions for non-profit charities and schools over the past week.
This is only one of the many reasons Americans need relief from Obamacare. We need health reform that respects people’s values and allows us the freedom to choose health care in line with our beliefs.