The Daily Signal had the best headline last week: “Big Brother Bullies Little Sisters at the Supreme Court.”
That was on March 23, the day the justices heard oral arguments in the Little Sisters of the Poor case (Zubik v. Burwell), the latest trip to the high court for those whose consciences are not guided by HHS’s implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The Little Sisters had to sue four years ago because, the way things stand, they face fines of $100 per day per employee for failing to comply with Obamacare’s infamous HHS mandate requiring employers to provide contraception coverage—including abortifacients—in their health insurance plans.
What contemporary medicine calls “contraceptive” actually includes drugs and devices that commit murder. The so-called “contraceptive mandate” is, therefore, the “early abortion mandate.”
The Little Sisters would owe $70 million a year to the federal government for the privilege of following their religious beliefs in refusing to enable their employees to kill tiny human beings.
If this case goes against the Little Sisters, the federal government could soon be responsible for putting an order of nuns who take care of poor elderly patients out of business.
Bullying. That’s what this is all about: a big powerful person trying to scare a little person.
Greedy bullies want something—the cupcake in the little kid’s lunchbox, for instance. Mean bullies want to prove something—that they’re the toughest kid around. And psychopathic bullies get their jollies by making other people suffer.
Which type of bully is HHS: the greedy, the mean, or the psychopathic one?
If reason were driving this issue, HHS would be thanking the Little Sisters and asking, “How can we help?” After all, wasn’t taking care of the poor and needy the raison d’etre for HHS in the first place? That is, back before the mindset of live-the-good life-by-sucking-on-the-government-tit took hold and bureaucracy became an end in itself.
Not that I blame the ordinary civil servant for the persecution of the Little Sisters and others who have objected to the infamous HHS mandate. The leftwing ideologues in the civil service are no doubt cheering on their Obama-appointed bosses, but they’re not running the show (though they’ll no doubt do all they can to throw sand in the gears if the next administration is Republican).
No, reason is not driving this bully. If it were, he’d put on a poor and hungry face and winsomely ask for what he wants—and the nice little kid would probably give him the cupcake.
But the Little Sisters don’t have a cupcake in their lunchbox, so this isn’t a case of a greedy bully.
Perhaps the government is just demonstrating that it’s the toughest guy on the national playground: “You have to do what I say because I say so.”
For sure, the nuns aren’t trying to prove anything. They do not have a dog in the pro-life fight— they serve the elderly, remember? They just want to be left alone to be who they are: women who serve the destitute because they see Jesus in the old men whose diapers they gladly change.
Some people think this case is about some nuns trying to force the government to support Catholic teaching. Not so. It’s about some nuns trying to protect their First Amendment freedom to follow Catholic teaching by themselves—which they were doing just fine, thank you, before the Affordable Care Act.
Catholic teaching hasn’t changed since Obamacare became law. True, several co-petitioners are also Catholic (the case is named after David Zubik, the bishop of Pittsburgh).
But Catholic doctrine is of no concern to East Texas Baptist University or Houston Baptist University or Geneva College or Southern Nazarene College, all co-petitioners in the case.
They’re not Catholics. But they do object to the government forcing them to contribute to the intentional death of an innocent human being. It’s not about one religion or another—it’s about conscience. The Supreme Court long ago said that a conscientious objection to killing could excuse someone from military service even if the conscientious objector claimed no religion at all.
HHS doesn’t want to allow any space for conscientious objection to FDA-approved killing.
Scientific facts about when human life begins haven’t changed since Obamacare was enacted in 2009. His infamous mandate requires employers to cover the full range of FDA-approved abortion pills, contraceptives, sterilization procedures, and “patient education and counseling for women of reproductive age.” Therefore “emergency contraceptives” like ella are required, as are IUDs, which are known to cause very early abortions.
Ella is a pill that kills a human conceptus if one happens to be present when it is swallowed. That’s like shooting into the bush because something’s moving, but not waiting to see if it’s a snake or a child. It means you’re willing to kill a human being. It’s tantamount to murder.
The Little Sisters don’t want to help their employees commit murder. So they don’t want to provide these FDA-approved drugs and devices to them.
It’s beyond ironic that one-third of Americans are already exempt from the very same mandate that has sent the Little Sisters to court. Huge secular corporations like Exxon, Pepsi, and Visa are not required to offer emergency contraceptives to their employees. Nor is New York City! That’s because those employers’ health-care plans were grandfathered in by Obamacare—“if you like your health care, you can keep your health care” actually applied to them.
HHS has been sued over a hundred times by over 300 plaintiffs since the so-called contraception mandate was issued on August 3, 2011. HHS has changed its position numerous times, claiming to have made many “accommodations.” The latest “accommodation” requires the Little Sisters to instruct their insurance company to provide the poison pills to employees on their behalf.
Most Catholic and Christian colleges and other institutions have succumbed without protest to this “accommodation,” even though complicity puts an institution in cooperation with evil.
You’d think the bully would be satisfied with 90% of the cupcakes. But no, this bully is determined that not even one lunchbox shall remain inviolate.
Like Inspector Javert, this is a psychopathic bully, one that cannot tolerate a universe in which any amount of good should be allowed to survive the evil of not seeing the world the way he does. Anyone who disagrees with him must be made to suffer.
On second thought, perhaps the Little Sisters of the Poor do have something that the federal government wants, after all.
It’s called moral authority.
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Connie Marshner is a commentator and researcher on life and family issues in the Washington, D.C., area.