Then Pennsylvania Came for the Nuns

Martin Niemoller’s famous quote listing the Nazi victims comes to mind today.

This week the Little Sisters of the Poor are back in court–before the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS)–defending their right to follow their religious convictions against abortion and contraception.

This might sound like a rerun of the evening news, but it’s not.

It was just in 2016 that the Little Sisters successfully defended themselves against an Obamacare mandate requiring them to provide abortions, abortifacients (contraception that works after conception–i.e. medication or device abortion), and contraception as part of their employee medical insurance coverage.

The sisters faced the option of shutting down all their facilities or paying millions in fines.

Then they won.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro–presumed by many to be the next governor–wouldn’t let the issue die–despite a Health and Human Services (HHS) rule (at the federal level) that says otherwise. (California’s AG is also pursuing the case.)

A news release from Becket, defending the nuns, explains:

“HHS issued a new rule that protects religious non-profits like the Little Sisters of the Poor from providing services like the week-after pill in their healthcare plans in violation of their faith. This meant their four-year legal ordeal was close to an end. But shortly after, the state of Pennsylvania sued to take away the Little Sisters’ religious exemption.”

According to Becket, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to believe Shapiro has it in for the sisters:

“Pennsylvania admits that it already has and already uses many government programs to provide contraceptives to women who need them.  Pennsylvania never challenged the Obama Administration for creating much larger exceptions for secular corporations—exceptions that covered tens of millions more people than the religious exemption.  Pennsylvania does not even have its own contraceptive mandate at all.”

We of the Keystone Commonwealth should be asking how many of our tax dollars Shapiro has wasted on his persecution of the sisters.

We should realize that electing Shapiro as governor will open the door for more Kermit Gosnells. And we should consider whether that door has already opened.

Anyone concerned about freedom of religion in America should be watching closely for SCOTUS’s ruling on this case.

Photo Credit: Joshua Roberts/Reuters/Newscom

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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12 Replies to “Then Pennsylvania Came for the Nuns”

  1. Oh dear… this is SO frustrating! If people want this stuff, they should pay for it out of their own pockets! Why should these Nuns, or any religious institution, be involved in providing contraceptive devices for anyone, for Pete’s sake! I mean, this is just so wrong on so many levels! The State has made a huge overreach in this area, and it should not be allowed to do so. I agree completely with your views, Nancy, and appreciate that you endeavor to wrestle with the culture. We do live in challenging times as Christians, to be sure.

  2. This kind of stuff never ceases to trouble me and what’s sad is how I’m rarely ever shocked anymore at these cases and suits formed against our religious freedom. Praying for the Little Sisters and this ruling!

  3. Thank you for keeping us abreast of all of these legal challenges to such important religious freedoms. Clearly, the Little Sisters of the Poor hold a deeply cherished religious view that honors life inside the womb and out. No amount of persecution by lawsuit will ever change their faith.

    1. They will not change their convictions. I’m sure the goal is to shut them down. Abandoned elderly will be in the hands of those whose convictions may be more flexible. So sad. Thanks, Melinda. God bless!

  4. God bless these women of God! I will be praying for them. Thank you, Nancy, for shining light on this topic.

  5. Part of me is so angry about this kind of thing because the politicians are making moral issues political. Another part of me wants to scream, “Where is the Church?” We should be standing firmly for what is right and good in God’s sight. Then, there is this little piece of me that feels sorry for Mr. Shapiro because he is messing with the Laws of the King. If he would read the Bible he would know that God does not deal kindly with those who try to thwart His purposes.

    1. Thank you for your reply, Beth. Your reaction mirrors that of many, I would think. We feel anger and sadness–and the best of us, like you, feel mercy. God bless!

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