Press Release

Penn. AG attacks nuns’ rights in court while keeping them outside Little Sisters of the Poor and supporters to gather outside Philadelphia court while hearing inside decides their fate

Media Contact

Ryan Colby 202-349-7219

Additional Information

WASHINGTON, D.C. –The Little Sisters of the Poor and their hard-fought rights will be on trial Thursday, December 14, but the Sisters will be outside the courthouse because of Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s attempt to silence them. Shapiro is suing to take away the Sisters’ religious exemption from a Health and Human Services rule. In early October, HHS issued a new rule that protects the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious non-profits from providing services in their health care plan that violate their faith like the week-after pill. The Little Sisters’ four-year legal ordeal was close to an end, but now the state of Pennsylvania is suing HHS to take away the Little Sisters’ religious exemption. Worse yet, Pennsylvania successfully won a court order keeping the Little Sisters from joining the case to defend their rights. A similar hearing took place on Tuesday in Oakland, California where nearly 50 people rallied outside the courthouse in support of the Little Sisters. Represented by Becket, the Little Sisters will speak up outside the courthouse to ensure that they can continue their vital ministry of caring for the elderly poor, as they have for over 175 years, without violating their faith (learn more about the Little Sisters here).

Hearing in Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Hargan

Statements by:
Mother Loraine Marie Maguire, of the Little Sisters of the Poor
Lori Windham, senior counsel at Becket

Thursday, December 14, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. EST

James A. Byrne United States Courthouse
601 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA  19106

Becket attorneys will be available for comment immediately following the hearing.

For more information or to arrange an interview with a Becket attorney, contact Melinda Skea at or 202-349-7219. Interviews can be arranged in English, Chinese, French, German, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.


Becket is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions and has a 100% win-rate before the United States Supreme Court. For over 20 years, it has successfully defended clients of all faiths, including Buddhists, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Native Americans, Sikhs, and Zoroastrians (read more here).