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Conscience Rights are Women’s Rights: Stop the Bullying of Nuns and Other Religious Groups

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Washington, D.C. -Statement by Janae Stracke, Communications Coordinator of Concerned Women for America, at the United States Supreme Court on the day of oral arguments in Zubik v. Burwell in favor of Religious Liberty


“I want to thank you all for being here on this important day to ask the United States Supreme Court to stop the government’s bullying of religious groups.

“I am here representing the half-a-million members of Concerned Women for America (CWA) from all over the country. These are women who stand squarely against the government’s assault of conscience in this case.

“One of the most insidious things about the government’s argument today is that it purports to act on behalf of “women.” Well, they do not act on my behalf and certainly not on behalf of the women of the Little Sisters of the Poor!

“You see, we women are not a monolithic group of people placing similar values in all areas of life; this includes faith and reproductive rights. But regardless, we should all be treated equally, with respect and dignity.

“The government’s ridiculous and unnecessary insistence that the nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor and other similarly situated groups give their approval through the government’s accommodation scheme to use the Little Sisters of the Poor’s health plan to provide abortifacients, which is in direct violation of their conscience, is most definitely not treating them with respect.

“The government knows this because it has already exempted churches without requiring their consent. But apparently taking vows of poverty, chastity, obedience, and hospitality, in order to serve the Lord and their neighbors is not religious enough to warrant a similar exemption. It wasn’t enough for the Little Sisters of the Poor.

“It is simply ridiculous. And so unnecessary.

“The most important thing for the Justices to remember today (and I hope they hear it over and over in oral arguments) is that there are numerous least restrictive means to accomplish the government’s objectives here.

“Their petty insistence on forcing the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religious groups to conform to their idea of what is acceptable under the tenants of their faith is preposterous. Especially today when the government has set up these exchanges where they can easily provide for the drugs themselves.

“But no, it seems the government wants to flex its regulatory muscles against religious groups, as it has done in many other areas that I won’t mention here (the IRS…).

“The Justices should tell the government to stop the bullying and go use less restrictive means to accomplish its goals.

“Our constitutional rights should not bow down to government convenience. The Justices should tell the government to stop bullying poor nuns and other devout groups.

“Standing for women’s rights should include the right of women to live and work according to their conscience without fear of punishment or harassment from governmental authorities.

“Conscience rights are women’s rights.

“Thank you.”

For an interview please contact Janae Stracke at or 712-269-1724.