Should nuns be forced to provide abortion pills?

The latest “big government run amok” story is from the Wall Street Journal, and it is angering both liberals and conservatives who believe in freedom of conscience.

Later this term the Supreme Court will hear arguments related to the ObamaCare requirement that all employer health plans must furnish contraception or else pay a tax penalty, but those cases involve corporations. The Little Sisters of the Poor run a nonprofit Colorado nursing home and hospice and therefore ought to be exempt under what the White House calls its “accommodation” for religiously affiliated institutions like parochial schools, hospitals and charities.

Mother Patricia Mary walks in the chapel at the Mullen Home for the Aged, run by Little Sisters of the Poor, in Denver, Colo., Thursday Jan. 2, 2014. Associated Press

The problem is that to qualify under the “accommodation,” religious organizations must sign a legal contract with their insurer certifying that the religious organizations refuse to subsidize contraceptive services. “This certification is an instrument under which the plan is operated,” the contract notes, then informs the insurer of its “obligations” under the rules.

Those include a command that the insurer “shall provide” contraception to all enrollees, supposedly independently and for free. The political point of the accommodation was to pretend that the costs of contraception or abortifacients are nominally carried by a third-party corporation, but the insurers are really only the middle men. The Little Sisters thus argue that signing the certification contract directs others to provide birth control in their place and makes them complicit.

The case is exceptionally important for two reasons.  As Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Liberty said

…the nuns would face massive fines if the Supreme Court lifted a temporary injunction that keeps the federal government from enforcing the mandate.

Rienzi also noted that potential government action against the nuns could undercut the Affordable Care Act’s stated goal of enhancing insurance coverage for people in the U.S. “Forcing the Little Sisters to pay massive fines or shut down their ministries hurts that goal,” Rienzi said.

My husband David French wrote about this case in an article that brings out an important point…  about paperwork?

A key theme of the Obama administration’s 37-page response to the Little Sisters of the Poor’s request for an injunction against the HHS abortion-pill Mandate, boils down to this: It’s just a form. The case isn’t about liberty; it’s about paperwork.

Plaintiffs in Citizens for Self-Governance’s IRS Lawsuit won’t be surprised by this tactic at all.  For everyone else, it’s important to read about how the government cloaks its illegal activities with the boredom of “forms.”

Read more here.




About The Author

Nancy French

Nancy French is a three-time New York Times best-selling author. Her most recent books include a collaboration with Sarah Palin on her new book Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas and with famous Chinese dissident Bob Fu on his book God’s Double Agent: The True Story of a Chinese Christian’s Fight for Freedom. Other books include Home and Away: A Story of Family in a Time of War which she co-authored with her husband David French. She also collaborated with Bristol Palin on her book Not Afraid of Life: My Story So Far and with Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson’s A Winning Balance: What I’ve Learned So Far about Love, Faith, and Living Your Dreams. She also wrote Red State of Mind: How a Catfish Queen Reject Became a Liberty Belle. She is the editor of the Faith and Family Channel on Patheos, writes for National Review Online and Rare magazine, and has written in numerous publications, such as USA Today, Parents magazine, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.   She and her husband David have a home in Franklin, Tennessee, where they and their three children attend Zion Presbyterian Church (PCA).