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Pope Francis visits US nuns involved in Obamacare contraception lawsuit

Pope Francis on Sept. 23, 2015 made an unscheduled stop to a convent of nuns to show his support for their lawsuit against President Barack Obama's health care law. Photo courtesy of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty
Pope Francis on Sept. 23, 2015 made an unscheduled stop to a convent of nuns to show his support for their lawsuit against President Barack Obama's health care law. Photo courtesy of The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

Pope Francis on Sept. 23, 2015, made an unscheduled stop to a convent of nuns to show his support for their lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s health care law. Photo courtesy of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

WASHINGTON (Reuters) Pope Francis on Wednesday (Sept. 23) made an unscheduled stop to a convent of nuns to show his support for their lawsuit against President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the visit to the convent of the Little Sisters of the Poor was a “brief but symbolic visit.”

Last August, a federal appeals court in Denver put on hold its ruling that the order of Roman Catholic nuns must comply with a contraception mandate in the law, giving the group time to petition the U.S. Supreme Court.


READ: Nuns lose latest court battle to avoid contraception mandate


The nuns had sued under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act over the birth control provision of the 2010 Affordable Health Care Act, widely known as Obamacare.

The sisters argued that the law forces them to provide insurance coverage for their employees to support contraception and sterilization services in violation of their religious beliefs, or face steep fines.

Under a compromise crafted under the health care law, religious groups can opt out of paying for the services, but a third party or an insurance carrier must foot the bill.

The sisters, who operate more than two dozen nursing homes nationwide, said that still makes them complicit in providing artificial birth-control services even if they did not directly pay for them.

Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Lisa Shumaker

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8 Comments

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  • “Under a compromise crafted under the healthcare law, religious groups can opt-out of paying for the services…”

    What a nuisance.
    Pope Francis says he cares about religious freedom – yet, like many religious people he and the nuns appear to have no idea what religious freedom is.

    Should I exercise my religious freedom and BLOCK THE ROADS so Christians can’t go to church? Of course not!

    “Selfishness is not living your life as you wish,
    it is asking others to live their lives as you wish.”
    – Oscar Wilde

    May this stuffy religious nonsense fade away quietly and be replaced with decency, free inquiry, science, unconditional love, freedom, democracy, music, literature and culture.

  • Insurance is a benefit, and it isn’t the employer’s business to interfere with what the employees get from it, any more than it’s their business to interfere with what I buy with the wages they pay me. Companies need to keep their noses out of what legal goods and services their employees receive. It’s legal, therefore it’s not your place to interfere.

  • The Little Sisters have offered healthcare long before Obama mandated that they must also offer life ending contraception. That is exactly what the pope meant when he said, “a just and wisely ordered society respect their deepest concerns and their right to religious liberty.” (Pope to the Congress). Obama pursuing these nuns on this is despicable.

  • @Greg,

    “The Little Sisters have offered healthcare long before Obama…”

    ‘Christian healthcare’ involved burning witches and black cats to prevent the spread of the plague! This is a case of Christian over-reaching.
    Such Christian privilege is exactly why Atheists like myself have stopped being silent on religious matters.

    Religion needs to be seen for what it is – like booze and smoking – it is a public nuisance which should be gently discouraged and at least mildly ridiculed.

    “Zombies walked for Christ to raise awareness” – (Matthew 27:52)
    Ridiculous.

  • Get your goddamn facts straight here! The nuns aren’t even offering the contraception or even the insurance providing contraception here. They are letting a 3rd party, whom they are giving no money to, provide the coverage the employees are seeking. There is no religious liberty issue here. The nun’s faith is not cause to deny people access to benefits they seek on their own. The nuns want to control the lives of their employees in a way they have no business doing.

    Religious freedom is not license to force people to abide by your faith. Quite the opposite. These nuns are either despicable people or ignorant shills.

  • Larry

    Watch the cursing or the site editors will nuke you, thus making the fundies that much stronger.

    best wishes

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