Catholic nuns won their challenge against the ObamaCare mandate to cover contraception. But in the NPR story, they were none. Public radio hid that the left was trying to force a religious order to violate its faith.
The Supreme Court, in Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania, decided whether the nuns had to compromise their beliefs to pay for contraceptive coverage.
If you were reading the taxpayer-funded National Public Radio’s (NPR) story on SCOTUS’s landmark decision defending religious liberty, you wouldn’t even know a group of Catholic nuns being forced against their will had anything to do with the case.
In a despicable story headlined “Supreme Court Undercuts Access To Birth Control Under Obamacare,” legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg kicked off the lede paragraph with leftist spin. She wrote: “The U.S. Supreme Court has made it more difficult for women to get access to birth control as part of their health plans if their employer has religious or moral objections to contraceptives.” [Emphasis added.]
Totenberg, however, provided hardly any historical background on the case. She made no mention of the Little Sisters of the Poor, or that it was a group of Catholic nuns who were being bullied by state powers into submitting to the ObamaCare contraceptive mandate. In fact, Totenberg didn’t even mention the name of the case itself. That would have brought up the nuns.
Instead, when defending an Obama administration “opt-out provision for employers with religious objections," Totenberg only mentioned the petitioners in the SCOTUS case with highly generalized framing. Totenberg wrote: “That did not satisfy some religious objectors, however. They contended that signing an opt-out form or notifying their plan administrator was the same as authorizing the use of their plan for birth control.” [Emphasis added.]
That was it. That was NPR’s entire framing of the case and the Catholic petitioners.
In May, George Mason University Law Professor Helen Alvaré provided a more detailed background into the legal hell the Little Sisters of the Poor had been through in the past few years, in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. It was headlined: “The Endless War on the Little Sisters of the Poor.”
Alvaré wrote that in 2017 and 2018, President Donald Trump’s administration exempted “from the [contraceptive] mandate employers with a religious objection to paying for contraceptives.” She continued: “Following the new mandate announcement, Pennsylvania and New Jersey sued to remove the Little Sisters’ exemption, claiming that the federal government didn’t have the authority to create religious exemptions to its own rules.” [Emphasis added.]
Totenberg ignored mentioning any of the context regarding Pennsylvania's and New Jersey's actions against the Catholic group.
Alvaré also made a very important point in defense of the Little Sister of the Poor:
Those who oppose the Little Sisters of the Poor still can’t identify one woman who can’t get contraceptives without help from Catholic nuns. That was always strange given how many employers were exempted for reasons like administrative convenience. It was also ignorant about theology: For many faith traditions, mission-driven service outside the walls of a church is a central command, [emphasis added.]
Contact NPR and demand that Totenberg update her story with full disclosure of the facts of the case and the petitioners involved.