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Hey! Nuns Who Want Contraceptive Ban? Not So Fast!

Hey! Nuns Who Want Contraceptive Ban? Not So Fast!

DENVER, Colo.—As AVN readers are undoubtedly aware, a group of nuns in Colorado, the Little Sisters of the Poor, has sued the Obama administration seeking to gain exemption from the Affordable Care Act's mandate that companies that offer health insurance for their employees be required to include free contraceptives in their coverage.

Of course, the fact that as a religious order  the Little Sisters are already exempt from the mandate doesn't seem to have made an impression, because in order to take advantage of the exemption, they'd have to fill out a form asking for it—and for some reason, that's caused them a problem.

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Apparently, the objection has something to do with the fact that if the nuns don't offer the coverage themselves, their employees can go to any other health insurer and obtain the free birth control pills or devices from them—and for the nuns, that's unholy or some such nonsense.

"The idea that it’s just a stroke of the pen trivializes the matter," stated Eric Rassbach, deputy general counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represents the Little Sisters. "The Little Sisters and other applicants cannot execute the form because they cannot deputize a third party to sin on their behalf."

So far, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, in her capacity as the justice with oversight over emergency motions filed in the 10th Circuit, has upheld the exemption even without the form being filled out—and has received a ration of shit for doing so, since it seems that every fundamentalist who owns a business in this country is seeking a legal reason not to have anything to do with his/her employees' reproductive health care—but maybe the news that's come out of Italy in the past few days might give them reason to reconsider.

A Salvadorean nun gave birth to a baby boy in the small Italian city of Reiti—and named him Francis, apparently a tribute to the pope," began the story by Daniel Politi on Slate.com. "The 31-year-old called an ambulance Wednesday morning, reporting abdominal pains, which she believed were stomach cramps, according to the BBC. Until the very end the nun insisted she was unaware of her pregnancy. 'It's not possible, I'm a nun,' she told doctors, according to Italian press reports cited by The Telegraph [UK]."

Seems the unnamed nun was working in an old people's home adjacent to the Campomoro Convent near the town of Rieti, nearly due north from Rome—and Vatican City—and assuming that Pope Francis' nightly strolls didn't take him that far out of the city, there are only a few possible explanations for the pregnancy:

1) Some townsperson—or local priest—spent a little quality time at the convent, with this nun delivering the only evidence of the dalliance. (We assume that someone will take the kid's DNA and try to locate the father—or Father.)

2) The nun didn't actually have sex with anyone, but either was fooling around with a guy who managed to do an amateur job of artificially inseminating her with his spew, or some ne'er-do-well snuck into her bedroom and inseminated her, artificially or otherwise, as she slept.

3) Christ has returned! Hallalujah!

That last possibility didn't figure too highly in the religious community's reaction to the pregnancy.

"It seems she was not able to resist temptation," opined Sister Erminia, the convent's Mother Superior.

But whatever the baby's origin, the nun has become an embarrassment to the convent, and is being asked to leave.

"It would be preferable that she now lead a secular life with her baby, away from religious institutions," said a spokesman for Delio Lucarelli, Bishop of Rieti, and apparently a believer in the old maxim, "Out of sight, out of mind."

The point is, however, think how much embarrassment the Catholic Church could have saved itself by allowing nuns to use birth control pills if they wanted, instead of fighting to deny access to them by everyone including themselves!






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Mark Kernes

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