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Rubio Joins Lankford Colleagues on Amicus Brief in Support of Little Sisters of the Poor

Nov 4, 2019 | Press Releases

Washington D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) joined Senator James Lankford (R-OK) and colleagues in the House and Senate in an amicus brief to request the Supreme Court hear the Little Sisters of the Poor’s case in order to protect them from the Obama-era HHS contraceptive mandate, which could force faith based organizations to violate their religious beliefs. In Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Trump, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro threatened the Little Sisters of the Poor ministry by challenging their religious exemption, forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to continue to defend themselves in court. After a loss in the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals, the order of Catholic nuns is asking the Supreme Court to end their six-year-long legal battle and let them keep their focus on serving the elderly poor.
Joining the brief were Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), John Boozman (R-AR), Mike Braun (R-IN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), James Risch (R-ID), and Pat Toomey (R-PA). U.S. Representative Vicky Hartzler (R-MO) led 78 Members of the House of Representatives. 
In May 2016, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned a lower court ruling against the Little Sisters of the Poor and granted them an exemption from the HHS contraceptive mandate, which required the nuns to provide services such as the week-after pill in their health care plans or pay millions of dollars in fines. In 2016, the government admitted, before the Supreme Court, that it can provide contraceptives to women without forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor to participate. In fact, both California and Pennsylvania have programs to provide contraceptives to women who request them. 
In 2017, HHS announced a new rule to protect religious non-profits, including the Little Sisters of the Poor, but several states, including Pennsylvania and California, immediately sued the federal government to remove the protection. The 3rd Circuit, placed a nationwide injunction on HHS’s new conscience protection rule. On October 22, the 9th Circuit ruled to place an injunction on the new rule for the following states: California, Delaware, Virginia, Maryland, New York, Illinois, Washington, Minnesota, Connecticut, North Carolina, Vermont, Rhode Island, Hawaii, and DC.