Catholic caregivers were sued by attorneys general of Pa., Calif. despite winning ACA exemptions from US Supreme Court…
(Brendan Clarey, Liberty Headlines) The Little Sisters of the Poor won the right Tuesday to defend themselves in court against a lawsuit from Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro over religious exemptions they received.
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Catholic group can defend their right to religious exemptions after they were sued by Shapiro (and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra) in an attempt to make them provide abortifacients and contraceptives according to federal mandates, despite provisions for religious exemption.
In December last year, a lower court ruled that the group couldn’t defend themselves after Shapiro objected to the Sisters defending themselves.
Tuesday’s ruling will allow the Sisters to speak.
“Women like the Little Sisters of the Poor do not need bureaucrats trying to push them around. The appeals court got it right — the Little Sisters should be allowed their day in court to argue for their rights,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket and attorney for the Little Sisters, in a press release.
“It is shameful that Josh Shapiro tried to deprive the Sisters of their right to defend themselves,” Windham added.
Mother Loraine Marie Maguire spoke on behalf of the Sisters on the appeals court’s decision.
“We pray that soon this trying time will be over; that the court will rule as the Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that the government doesn’t need us to provide these services to women. As Little Sisters of the Poor, all we want is to follow our calling of serving the elderly poor,” she said.
Besides exemptions the Little Sisters were granted by the Supreme Court, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services added new religious exemptions last year, which Liberty Headlines reported on at the time.
The exemptions further protected religious institutions from following abortion and contraception requirements in the Affordable Care Act.