The Supreme Court has agreed to review a case brought by the Little Sisters of the Poor, a Catholic home for the elderly and “neediest,” against a mandate by the Obama administration that they must provide birth control services in their health insurance policies.


Little Sisters of the Poor Philadelphia

“It is disappointing to think that as we enter a new decade, we must still defend our ministry in court,” Mother Loraine Marie Maguire of the Little Sisters of the Poor said in a statement. “We are grateful the Supreme Court has decided to weigh in, and hopeful that the Justices will reinforce their previous decision and allow us to focus on our lifelong work of serving the elderly poor once and for all.”

The 2011 Obama executive order has been the subject of more than 100 lawsuits, with the Little Sisters’ drawing the most media exposure.

In 2017, President Trump issued his own executive order countermanding Obama’s order. EO 13798 states that it “shall be the policy of the executive branch to vigorously enforce Federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom.”

However, the state of Pennsylvania, where the Little Sisters ministry is domiciled, sued over the Trump order, and in 2019 a district court ruled that the Little Sisters must adhere to the contraceptive mandate. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling, and issued a nationwide injunction. Pennsylvania now says the ministry owes the state tens of millions of dollars in fines.

On Jan. 17, the Supreme Court agreed to review the case, Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania.