Mirror of Justice

A blog dedicated to the development of Catholic legal theory.
Affiliated with the Program on Church, State & Society at Notre Dame Law School.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Law, Religion and Health Care Institutions

The second panel at the Petrie Flom Conference on Law, Religion and Health in America addressed health care institutions.

Ryan Meade argued that hospitals cannot have a conscience because they do not have an intellect and will.  His interest was not in addressing what kind of religious accommodations should or should not be granted (in fact he favors religious liberty), but rather the use of language of conscience.  His fear is that we lose what conscience means by imprecise use of language. 

Elizabeth Sepper addressed the extent to which institutions that are no longer Catholic in their operation or ownership continue to be bound by restrictions on services through contract. Because of contract, institutions affiliated with other faiths and institutional investors devoted to  the  pursuit  of profit assume a  religious  mantle.   The results is that religious identity survives in "zombie  form," while  the  justifications  for  its  existence  (the  affiliation  with  a  religious  body  or  the  religious beliefs of its founders, directors, or employees) no longer hold true.  She sees no value in allowing that perpetuation.

David Craig argues that organizations can claim free exercise protection,  not on the basis of individual's religious belief, but on the basis of an integrated religious mission.  He suggests three ways of mission integrity:  (1) Associational buy-in test: employees and customers demonstrably affirm corporate religious mission, e.g. employee training, commercial advertising.  (2) Worker welfare: do employees holistically benefit from corporate religious mission e.g. through compensation, benefits.  (3) Public service test: does corp advance public interests through its acts consistent with its religious mission?  Based on how fully Catholic hospitals implement respect for life throughout theeir practices, he would provide accommodation to Catholic hospitals, but not to Hobby Lobby.


Stabile, Susan | Permalink