This week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a lower court will rehear the case of a coalition of nuns who say they are being forced to violate their religious beliefs under New York’s abortion mandate.
According to Faithwire, the nuns had asked the court to review a rule that orders employers to cover abortions in their employee health insurance plans.
The New York Court of Appeals will now rehear the case of Diocese of Albany v. Emami. Groups involved in the lawsuit say they are against the mandate because they believe that life begins at the moment of conception and that abortion is a mortal sin.
“We believe that every person is made in the image of God,” said Mother Miriam of the Sisterhood of Saint Mary. “That’s why we believe in the sanctity of human life, and why we seek to serve those of all faiths—or no faith at all—in our community. We’re grateful that the Supreme Court has taken action in our case and hopeful that, this time around, the New York Court of Appeals will preserve our ability to serve and encourage our neighbors.”
New York’s state law does have religious exemptions, but the Sisterhood of Saint Mary does not qualify for the exemption because the nuns also sponsor a 4-H club and allow local youth to lease some of their Cashmere goats for an agricultural outreach ministry.
“New York clearly learned nothing from the federal government’s own attempts to force nuns to pay for contraceptives and is now needlessly threatening charities because they believe in the dignity and humanity of every human person,” said Eric Baxter, vice president and senior counsel at Becket.
“Punishing faith groups for ministering to their local communities is cruel and counterproductive. We are thankful that the Supreme Court won’t allow the New York Court of Appeals’ bad ruling to be the last word on the right of religious ministries to serve New Yorkers of all faiths,” he added.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Studio Annika
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.