February 4, 2014 |
Two decades ago, Congress overwhelmingly approved and President Clinton enthusiastically signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. But now that the 1993 law is being used to challenge the Obama administration's requirement that employer health plans include contraceptive services, some supporters of the law are having second thoughts, and several organizations want the Supreme Court to declare it unconstitutional. That would be a mistake. The law was a response to a 1990 Supreme Court decision involving two Oregon men who had been denied unemployment benefits after they were fired for using the hallucinogenic drug peyote during a Native American religious rite.
January 30, 2014 |
MANILA - The Philippines, no stranger to the culture wars over contraception and abortion, will soon learn whether a controversial new law that requires the government to subsidize birth control for the poor is constitutional. The Filipino Supreme Court's decision is expected in March, but could come earlier. The new law makes no mention of abortion, which remains forbidden under almost all circumstances, but the Roman Catholic bishops of the Philippines have sought to frame it as such by arguing that any form of contraception other than church-approved “natural” methods or abstinence is tantamount to abortion.
January 18, 2014 |
People recognized St. Jeanne Jugan by the begging basket she carried while walking down the roads of Brittany, in northwest France, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Going from door to door, Jugan would ask people for money, gifts - whatever they could spare for the elderly poor. Nearly 175 years later, nuns from the religious order Jugan founded, the Little Sisters of the Poor, can still be seen in public, collecting donations to support their work. Unlike some nuns who wear casual clothing these days, the Little Sisters dress in traditional garb, in all white or black habits with gray veils.
January 9, 2014 |
WASHINGTON - The surprising silence coming from the Supreme Court over the last week on a challenge to Obamacare by a group of Colorado nuns suggests justices are divided over what to with the complicated dispute. On New Year's Eve, Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted a temporary stay to the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Roman Catholic nonprofit charity that was seeking relief from an Affordable Care Act requirement that it formally request an exemption from offering contraceptives to its employees as part of its health plan.
January 7, 2014 |
The Little Sisters of the Poor, an organization of Roman Catholic nuns that runs nursing homes around the country, is testing the contraceptive coverage mandate of the Affordable Care Act. Last week, we're sorry to say, the nuns won a temporary reprieve from Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. Under the law, most employers are required to provide their employees with health insurance that covers birth control. But the Obama administration agreed to a compromise for nonprofit religious groups that object to contraception, exempting them from paying for such coverage.
January 5, 2014
Re "Deep division persists on birth control," Jan. 3 Where will it end? Even as wondrous advances in medicine have continually improved our health, various religions have striven to inject their beliefs into doctor-patient relationships. Faith-based objections have been lodged against inoculations, blood transfusions, birth control, abortion, end-of-life treatment and so on. Must every future medical innovation be compelled to run a religious gauntlet? Will every newly concocted religion be permitted to challenge medical procedures long deemed essential and effective?