A Catholic order of nuns may have to abandon operations in the United States because of a spiritual and financial inability to comply with Obamacare, according to The Daily Caller. The Little Sisters of the Poor, which runs more than 30 homes for the elderly in the U.S., fears it will not be granted an exemption from having to provide its employees with health insurance.
Because of the HHS mandate that requires employers to provide contraception, along with other services against Catholic teaching, the Little Sisters will face fines that the order says it could not incur. ”[I]t could be a serious threat to our mission in the U.S. because we would never be able to afford to pay the fines involved,” said Sister Constance Carolyn Veit, the communications director for the Little Sisters. ”We have difficulty making ends meet just on a regular basis; we have no extra funding that would cover these fines.”
The Little Sisters do not expect to qualify for the religious exemption because they do not exclusively serve or employ Catholics. ”We hire employees and serve/house the elderly regardless of race and religion, so that makes us ineligible for the exemption being granted churches,” said Sister Constance. If the order were to provide health insurance but exclude the services in conflict with their beliefs, the Little Sisters estimate they’d have to pay close to $2 million in fines.
The order has until the end of 2013 before having to comply with the healthcare mandates before facing the fines. Sister Constance said the Little Sisters will continue exploring solutions before concluding whether to leave the U.S. entirely, like it has other countries in the past due to “religious intolerance.” The Little Sisters of the Poor has operations in 31 countries, and in 20 states in the U.S.