The Little Sisters of the Poor are a community of women religious who serve low-income elderly people: 13,000 throughout the world and 2,500 in the United States. They serve lonely, abandoned, sick, and impoverished old people–the most marginalized and helpless of citizens. Well, Grandma and Grandpa are about to be sacrificed on the altar of ideology. The Little Sisters, as faithful and obedient Catholic women religious, cannot and will not subsidize abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception in health insurance plans for themselves or their employees. Where does this leave them? Unable to continue their mission of service to the elderly poor.
They don’t qualify for the very narrow religious exemption in the HHS mandate; they serve non-Catholics and their mission is not primarily the inculcation of the faith. They employ many non-Catholics as well. Their choices? Pay crippling fines or discontinue service to the elderly poor.
Abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception are so important to the Obama administration that the HHS will even force nuns to buy them–for themselves? Here, indeed, is a war on women!
The sisters say:
We Little Sisters of the Poor stand with the Catholic Bishops of the United States, and leaders of many other religious communities, in strongly objecting to this mandate. We believe that it violates the individual and collective religious liberty and freedom of conscience of the Little Sisters serving in this country. To quote Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Surely it violates religious freedom to force religious ministries and citizens to buy health coverage to which they object as a matter of conscience and religious principle.” Even the indirect subsidizing of such benefits, which would still be the case through the President’s “compromise,” is unconscionable to us.