Gov't and religious liberty rights

Wednesday, January 22, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Little Sisters of the Poor outside courtAn attorney thinks "it's about time" that the Supreme Court hear oral arguments in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania.

"It's about time the Supreme Court resolve this question once and for all and protect the religious liberty rights of non-profits like the Little Sisters of the Poor," says attorney Stephanie Taub of First Liberty Institute, a religious liberty law firm that filed a friend of the court brief in this case. "They've spent years fighting against the contraception mandate for the simple right not to be forced to facilitate insurance coverage for something that goes against their religious beliefs."

While the cases are related, this is not the same exact thing as Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell.

"Under the Obama administration, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) imposed the contraceptive mandate, which required insurance plans to cover contraceptives, and it had only a very narrow religious exemption at first," says Taub. "When President Trump took office, that's when HHS finally granted a full exemption to people with moral and religious objections to contraceptives."

But then a group of states sued to stop HHS from protecting groups with sincere or moral objections, and that, Taub says, is "the case that we have right now."

Taub

"Previously, the fight was about whether the federal government was required to respect religious liberty rights, and now the fight is about whether the government is required not to respect religious liberty rights, whether the government has the discretion to grant religious exemptions," she poses to put it another way.

And Taub says even those who may not have a problem with birth control should also pay attention to and care about this case.

"Administrative agencies could be prevented from trying to respect religious beliefs in a variety of contexts," Taub explains. "The federal government needs the freedom to be able to take everything into consideration, including the religious beliefs of people that might be affected. At First Liberty Institute, we believe that no one should be forced to violate their religious beliefs, no matter what those are."

A date has not yet been set for oral argument in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania.

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