Skip to content

Little Sisters back in court to defend HHS mandate exemption

Free World Class Education
FREE Catholic Classes

1/11/2019 (5 months ago)
Catholic Online (

The Little Sisters of the Poor are back in court this week, as two states are challenging their religious exemption from the HHS contraception mandate.


Catholic Online (
1/11/2019 (5 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Little Sisters, court to defend HHS, mandate exemption

Washington D.C., (CNA/EWTN News) - Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra have each filed lawsuits saying that the sisters should not receive a religious exemption from the mandate. Other states have joined onto these lawsuits as well.

"The Little Sisters are looking forward to a final victory in this case, so they can put this whole lawsuit behind them. It's been a long fight," Becket Fund for Religious Liberty senior counsel Lori Windham told CNA. The Becket Fund is representing the Little Sisters in these cases.

Oral arguments were heard on Thursday in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Trump in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The judge said that she would make a decision by Monday.

On Friday, oral arguments will be heard in the case State of California v. HHS, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Windham, who was present for oral arguments, told CNA that while the judge had issued an injunction blocking the Trump Administration's protections of the Little Sisters of the Poor, she did have tough questions for the state.

"She asked Pennsylvania why it was wrong for the Trump Administration to issue this rule protecting the Little Sisters and others, but wasn't wrong for the Obama Administration to issue a series of rules to create the mandate in the first place," Windham explained. She said that the state's lawyers attempted to explain why this was different, and then tried to steer away from that particular topic.

The Little Sisters were one of several hundred plaintiffs to file suit against the Obama-era HHS Contraception Mandate, which would have required them to offer free-of-charge contraceptive coverage to their employees through their insurance plan.

This mandate was issued under the Affordable Care Act by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2011.

In addition to the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience, the Little Sisters of the Poor also take a vow of hospitality. The order operates nursing homes to care for the elderly poor, and are present in communities around the world. The Little Sisters were not eligible for the initial religious exemption from the mandate because they serve and employ those of all faiths.

In October 2017, the Trump Administration issued a new rule that would allow the Little Sisters of the Poor to receive a religious exemption and would not force them to distribute contraceptives against their religious beliefs.

After Thursday's arguments, Mother Loraine Marie Maguire of the Little Sisters issued a statement, saying that she hoped the five-plus years of court cases would soon be over.

"We pray that the court will allow us to finally and fully return to our life's passion of caring for the most vulnerable members of our society," she said.


More U.S.

Brooklyn diocese advances sainthood cause of local priest Watch

Image of

The Bishop of Brooklyn accepted last week the findings of a nine-year diocesan investigation into the life of Monsignor Bernard John Quinn, ... continue reading

Corpus Christi comes to the Capitol Watch

Image of

A group of about 350 people, including priests, sisters, and laypersons, processed through Washington, DC on Sunday to celebrate the feast ... continue reading

In responding to gender theory, 'forming the formators' is key, educators say Watch

Image of

Amid a flurry of headlines denouncing the Vatican for releasing a document condemning "gender theory," theology professors and Catholic ... continue reading

Cathedral High School in Indianapolis recognizes archbishop's oversight Watch

Image of

A Catholic high school in the Indianapolis archdiocese has said it will comply with the archbishop's instructions to stop employing a ... continue reading

States move to close child marriage exceptions Watch

Image of

A growing number of states are considering bans or additional restrictions on child marriages, including in Pennsylvania, where a bill to ... continue reading

Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Deacon Keith Fournier Hi readers, it seems you use Catholic Online a lot; that's great! It's a little awkward to ask, but we need your help. If you have already donated, we sincerely thank you. We're not salespeople, but we depend on donations averaging $14.76 and fewer than 1% of readers give. If you donate just $5.00, the price of your coffee, Catholic Online School could keep thriving. Thank you. Help Now >

Learn about Catholic world

Catholic Online
Inform - Inspire - Ignite

Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained

Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need

Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online

Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye

Daily Reading
Today's bible reading

Lent / Easter
Death & resurrection of Jesus

Advent / Christmas
Birth of Jesus

Rest of Catholic Online
All Catholic world we offer

Products and services we offer

Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books

Advertise on Catholic Online
Your ads on

Catholic Online Email
Email with Catholic feel

Learn the Catholic way

Catholic Online School
Free Catholic education for all

Student Classes
K-12 & Adult Education Classes

Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education

Connect with us online

Catholic Online on Facebook
Catholic social network

Catholic Online on Twitter
Catholic Tweets

Catholic Online on YouTube
Enjoy our videos

Catholic Online on Instagram
Shared Catholic moments

Catholic Online on Pinterest
Catholic ideas style inspiration

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2019 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.

Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.