The lawyer representing a Catholic group who is refusing sign a waiver exempting them from providing birth control coverage for their employees as required by the federal government said on Sunday that God had instructed them not to sign the form -- and so they had to take the case to the Supreme Court.
During a debate on Fox News, NARAL Pro-Choice America President Ilyse Hogue pointed out that the Affordable Care Act had struck a balance of allowing non-profit religious organizations to opt-out from providing birth control coverage while attempting to provide care for the vast majority of women in the country.
"This law was intended to uphold religious liberty and, yet, make sure that no one else was making my health care decisions based on their beliefs," Hogue explained, turning to Little Sisters of the poor attorney Mark Rienzi. "So in this case, it's beyond me actually why Mr. Rienzi doen't just instruct his client to sign the form because no one's going to get contraception and they can get back to doing the great work that they do to care for the elderly."
Rienzi, however, argued that the Little Sisters of the Poor were not permitted to sign the form for "religious" reasons.
"This form self-certifies, in fact, that the Sisters actually don't condone contraception," Hogue insisted.
"Signing this form is not akin to you signing a contract for your house," Rienzi replied. "It's something that the Little Sisters of the Poor, who are obviously deeply religious people say their god tells them not do."
"And so for the government to say, 'You must sign that form or we will crush the nursing homes that you use to care for the elderly and poor' makes no sense at all."