In the United States, several plaintiffs, including the Little Sisters of the Poor in Denver (Colorado) lost their health insurance case on 14 July. The complaining institutions demanded to be “exempt in the name of religious freedom from complying with the health insurance legislation”.
This law obliges companies to provide employees with social cover including contraceptive costs. The United States Court of Appeal deemed that “the provision in question did not substantially invade their religious practice” and that “similarly, the rights to freedom of religion guaranteed by the First Amendment of the Constitution were not violated”.
The sisters could appeal against this decision. They could also “sign a declaration confirming their religious objections to the Department’s health law”, which allows insurers to draw up contracts “without involving religious Catholics”.
However, for the Little Sisters of the Poor, “this type of letter would violate their religious beliefs since it would make feasible a practice that they find distasteful”. The conference of United States Catholic Bishops also believes that “this would still oblige religious organisations to facilitate acts that go against their religious beliefs”.
The provincial superior declared: “We cannot choose between caring for poor, elderly people and our faith… All that we ask is to be able to live our religious vocation without any governmental intrusion”.
The Catholic Bishops’ Conference wants “the law to be withdrawn such that no company can guarantee contraceptive health cover for its employees”.
La Croix (17/07/2015)