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October 2013

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First Class Action Suit Challenges HHS Mandate!

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Dear Friends,

The Becket Fund has a new client, Little Sisters of the Poor, and on their behalf we have just filed the very first class action challenge to the HHS Mandate.

Now, before I go on about this case, you just have to watch this video and see who the government thinks is not religious enough to qualify for their very narrow exemption to the HHS Mandate.  Grab some Kleenex – I promise you’ll be moved by the ministry these Sisters provide – and click here to watch.

Yes, that’s right, apparently these Sisters, who devote their lives to serving the elderly poor, who provide indigent seniors loving shelter and care because they see in each of them the face of Jesus Christ; apparently, they are not religious enough for the government to treat their homes as “religious employers.”

The IRS is prepared to fine these Sisters millions of dollars if they refuse to break their vows and provide free access to abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to their employees.  The Little Sisters of the Poor have to collect money in order to provide care for the elderly poor.  If the government has its way, that money will go to pay the IRS instead.

Now, when I say it’s the first class action suit filed against the HHS Mandate what I mean is that it also represents hundreds of Catholic non-profit ministries with similar beliefs.  This suit, which was also brought on behalf of the Little Sisters’ religious health benefits providers, Christian Brothers Services, is also the first on behalf of benefits providers with religious objections to the Mandate.

Becket Fund Senior Counsel Mark Rienzi appeared a few days ago on Fox News Channel to talk with Neil Cavuto about this case.

The reality doesn’t quite fit the spin does it?  Over the past two years, the government has said that it is providing a religious liberty exemption to the HHS Mandate.  It has said that it’s accommodating religious liberty.  But, that just doesn’t square with what’s going on in real life.

Perhaps they don’t quite understand what religious liberty means.

We’re happy to explain it to them.  And, each time we file a brief or appear in court or engage with the media, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is explaining just how the HHS Mandate diminishes religious liberty to the point of extinction.




Kristina Arriaga
Executive Director

P.S.  When Senior Counsel Mark Rienzi told the Sisters I was going to send you this email, they replied that they would “promise to pray for [you] for helping to support this cause.”  Their words!  Not mine!  If you’d like to learn more about the mission and activities of the Little Sisters of the Poor, click here. They are a remarkable order of women.


Next week, I have more HHS Mandate news for you, so stay tuned!