A coalition of Catholic and Protestant charities just asked the U.S. Supreme Court to stop New York from forcing them to fund the killing of unborn babies in abortions.
In a brief submitted Friday, the Christian organizations pointed to a 2017 mandate from the New York Department of Financial Services requiring that all employers in the state cover abortions in their employee health insurance plans.
Mother Miriam, of the Sisterhood of Saint Mary, the oldest Anglican religious order founded in America, said their ministry is dedicated to serving people in need, but the New York abortion mandate is threatening their work.
“Our faith tells us that every life is precious from the moment of conception to the final breath,” Mother Miriam said. “That’s why we need relief from the Supreme Court.”
PJ Media reports other religious groups involved in the petition include Roman Catholic, Baptist, Anglican and Lutheran charities and churches.
The New York insurance mandate includes a very narrow exemption for religious groups. To qualify, they must serve only people of their own faith – something Mother Miriam said they will not do.
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“New York has told us that if we want to hold our beliefs about the sanctity of life, we have to stop serving non-Anglicans,” she said. “We cannot compromise on our religious beliefs, or in our service to people of all faiths or no faith at all.”
The position puts Christian charities in an “intolerable position”; the state is forcing them to choose between paying for the killing of unborn babies in abortions or giving up their ministries that help people in need, lawyers with Becket argued in the petition.
“For example, the exemption doesn’t extend to the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm and their Teresian Nursing Home because they serve the elderly and dying regardless of religious affiliation. Nor does it extend to the First Bible Baptist Church, which operates social justice ministries for underserved community members,” Becket said in a statement.
According to PJ Media, the mandate requires New York employers to cover all “medically necessary abortions.” However, the term includes abortions that are not actually medically necessary.
Here’s more from the report:
Neither the proposed regulation nor the final version define “medically necessary abortions,” but in “model language” for health insurance contracts, the superintendent stated that “medically necessary abortions” include at least “abortions in the case of rape, incest or fetal malformation.”
“The mandate thus appears to cover abortions of babies afflicted with Down Syndrome and other maladies,” the Christian groups argued in their petition to the Supreme Court.
Funding the killing of unborn babies in abortions for these and other reasons is “a grave moral evil,” and Christian employers should not be forced to pay for them, they continued.
Without relief, the charities and churches said they will be forced to either stop providing health insurance to their employees or close.
“When New York instituted its abortion mandate, the Little Sisters of the Poor were already two Supreme Court victories into their battle against the contraceptive mandate. Now they’ve won for a third time, sending the clear message that the government can’t make nuns do its dirty work,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket. “New York’s failure to learn from the Little Sisters’ saga … is beyond reason. The Court needs to step in and teach New York that lesson.”
The charities and churches involved in the case include the Roman Catholic Dioceses of Albany and Ogdensburg; the Anglican Sisterhood of St. Mary; the Brooklyn, Albany, and Ogdensburg chapters of Catholic Charities; St. Gregory The Great Catholic Church Society of Amherst; First Bible Baptist Church; Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Albany; the Carmelite charity Teresian House Nursing Home Company; and the Catholic senior living nonprofit Depaul Housing Management Corporation.
The case is Diocese of Albany v. Lacewell.