The Little Sisters of the Poor have 30 homes in the US serving 2500 residents. Here are some quotes from Sister Constance Veit about the potential impact of the HHS mandate on the poor and elderly that the sisters care for so lovingly.
If we chose to offer insurance without the objectionable services, we would honor our consciences, but we’d have to pay $100 per day per employee. As the cardinal (Timothy Cardinal Dolan) figures it, for an organization with 50 employees, that would mean almost $2 million per year. So if the mandate is still standing in 2014, all of our U.S. homes will be facing serious financial difficulties.
We stand with the U.S. bishops and so many others in advocating that the mandate be struck down, or that, in the very least, there be a viable exemption for freedom of conscience.
I have been a Little Sister for 25 years, and I have never seen our congregation so active on a public issue. So that is an indication of its importance. The only other time I have seen a response like this from our congregation was in the early 1990s, when euthanasia and assisted suicide were being debated in the European Parliament, and our superior general at that time took a public stand. Normally, our lives are very hidden.
What we fear is that, if the federal government succeeds in this case, there are other areas where they could exert pressure or enact measures that could endanger our apostolate — particularly in end-of-life care and in the possible rationing of care to the elderly as a cost-saving measure.