March 18, 2014 |
Are secular, for-profit corporations free to violate the rights of their employees by claiming that the law violates their corporate religious conscience? That's the big question at the heart of the two blockbuster challenges to a key provision of Obamacare that will be heard by the Supreme Court next week. In its 225-year history, the Supreme Court has never held that secular, for-profit corporations are entitled to the free exercise of religion. It should not start now. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood claim in their lawsuits that the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employers' health insurance plans cover preventive care for women, including the full range of FDA-approved contraceptives, violates their right to the free exercise of religion.
February 7, 2014
Re "The rights of the religious," Editorial, Feb. 4 The Times rightly defends but wrongly interprets a federal law that forbids the government from imposing "substantial burdens" on the exercise of religious convictions and requires federal officials to pursue the "least restrictive means" of achieving any "compelling interest. " The Times neglects 1st Amendment principles in defending the administration's attempts to force employers with conscientious objections to bow to the government's edict to have employee insurance policies that provide controversial contraceptives.
February 6, 2014
Re "The pope, the pill and the court," Opinion, Jan. 30 Malcolm Potts' claims about contraception are not uncontested. Whether nuns are prescribed hormonal medication has nothing to do with any church teaching on contraception. It is a matter between a nun and her doctor based on her risk factors and health needs. As U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops spokeswoman Sister Mary Ann Walsh pointed out, "There are risks with the pill just as there are risks with doing nothing with regard to uterine and ovarian cancer.
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.