Following a Wednesday Supreme Court ruling in favor of the Trump administration and Catholic charity Little Sisters of the Poor, the group’s communications director said Thursday that her organization always knew they were protected by God.
In an interview on “Fox & Friends,” Sister Constance Veit explained that the case against New Jersey and Pennsylvania — both of which had sued over the validity of a revision to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that allowed religiously-affiliated groups and some for-profit companies to opt out of providing contraception coverage to employees — was a must-win.
“Well, you know, according to Catholic teaching, it would not be acceptable for us to provide contraceptives and abortifacients to our employees in our healthcare program because they are not — contraception and abortion are not acceptable in Catholic teaching,” she said.
In addition, the distribution of contraceptives would cost the Little Sisters of the Poor big money.
Loraine Marie Maguire (3rd R), mother provincial of the Little Sisters of the Poor, stands alongside fellow nuns following oral arguments in 7 cases dealing with religious organizations that want to ban contraceptives from their health insurance policies on religious grounds at the Supreme Court in Washington, DC, March 23, 2016. / AFP / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
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“Well, we calculated it out that the fines would have been about $70 million a year across all of our U.S. Homes. We have 25 homes here in the states. So, that would have essentially had to end our mission. Because, I mean, who could afford $70 million in fines a year?” she asked.
“But, I do have to say that we always knew that God would protect us. We really trust in his providential care. And so, we knew that somehow, someday he would work things out for us,” said Veit.
The high court ruled 7-2. The majority opinion, written by Justice Clarence Thomas, ruled that the Trump administration’s challenged rulemaking was aboveboard, and hailed the work of the Little Sisters of the Poor.
“For over 150 years, the Little Sisters have engaged in faithful service and sacrifice, motivated by a religious calling to surrender all for the sake of their brother,” he wrote. “But for the past seven years, they — like many other religious objectors who have participated in the litigation and rulemakings leading up to today’s decision — have had to fight for the ability to continue in their noble work without violating their sincerely held religious beliefs.
“We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. We further hold that the rules promulgating these exemptions are free from procedural defects,” Thomas said.
Becket Fund for Religious Liberty Vice President Montse Alvarado — who represented the sisters — told Doocy she was grateful that those with sincere religious objections are still protected in America.
“You know, for the past 15, 20 years, the Supreme Court has really been protective of religious freedom,” she said. “The last 15 decisions that have come out of that court: seven of them Becket Fund victories. [I’m] very proud of that.”
“They have been very protective of religious freedom and free speech. So, it tells us that we have a court that in a majority way robustly protects religious freedom for all Americans,” said Alvarado.
Sister Veit said the next step for her charity is a return to their mission: caring for the needy and elderly and offering them a home where “they will be welcomed as Jesus Christ and accompanied with dignity and true compassion until God calls them to himself.”
“And, we are just very happy and relieved that we can go back to doing that without the anxiety of these fines and this case hanging over us now,” she stated. “You know, in light of the pandemic, our mission is more essential and more relevant than it ever has been.”
Fox News’ Tyler Olson, Ronn Blitzer, Shannon Bream, and Bill Mears contributed to this report.