By Marc Merlin
Published: January 5, 2014
WASHINGTON — A little-known monastic group, the Brothers of the Holy Appendix, has filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case before the Supreme Court in which the Little Sisters of the Poor, an order of Roman Catholic nuns, have challenged requirements of the Affordable Care Act which require employers to provide insurance coverage for contraception or face related penalties.
Unlike the Little Sisters, whose reservations extend to the wide variety of safe and effective methods for family planning and for the low-cost reduction of sexually-transmitted diseases, the Brothers' objections are focused narrowly on the fact that the new healthcare law involves them either in the process of providing coverage for appendectomies or in informing a third-party administrator of their decision to opt-out of such coverage.
Citing First Amendment protections, Fr. Cecal Gorgonzola explained, "we consider the appendix a God-given feature of the human anatomy and any tampering with it, much less its removal, constitutes an abomination according to our religious doctrine." He continued, "compelling us to participate, directly or indirectly, in supporting even medically necessary appendectomies is an infringement of our freedom of conscience and freedom of speech and must be resisted."