The Little Sisters of the Poor are grateful for Justice Sotomayor’s temporary stay of the million dollar fines imposed on the nuns as of January 1 for not providing products and services in direct denial of their deeply held religious beliefs.

The HHS mandate in question requires most employers, including Catholic hospitals, nursing homes, charities, universities and high schools, to provide or facilitate abortion-inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization within their health insurance or face bankrupting fines of $100 per day per employee.

At issue is nothing less than America’s religious freedom, assured by the 1st amendment and reaffirmed by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which passed Congress with bipartisan support in 1993 under President Clinton. To assert that women’s health is harmed if the Sisters of the Poor do not provide abortion inducing drugs, contraception and sterilization insults the intelligence of us women and the common sense of all Americans.

This mandate was never proposed as law, never debated, nor voted on by anyone answerable to voters. If a regulation signed into effect by a government bureaucrat can dictate how much of their religious beliefs Americans are allowed to practice, what will be our next freedom a politician or unelected bureaucrat will decide and deem to be “unfair” or “inconvenient”?

Barbara Samuells

Catholics for Freedom of Religion