The designation has caused no small amount of controversy, most notably on The Kelly File on Fox News Tuesday night, when Megyn Kelly challenged former NOW president Patricia Ireland over the "dirty" designation for an organization of nuns who "operate homes in 31 countries where they provide care for over 13,000 needy, elderly persons, many of whom are dying." Kelly preceded the interview with a video clip about the organization. An on-screen graphic said the Little Sisters treat the people they care for "as if they were Christ."
"These people are still valuable," a nun is heard saying as the video shows elderly persons, some of them in wheelchairs, engaging in various activities. "They are God's creation."
"Dirty," Kelly said at the end of the clip. "Really, Patricia?"
Ireland said the name for the list was a takeoff on The Dirty Dozen, a name that became famous as the title of a 1967 movie about Americans convicted of murder who were employed on a mission to assassinate German officers in World War II. "The Dirty 100" list includes "car companies, management companies, food companies ... contractors" and others that have filed suit against enforcement of the mandate, Ireland said. It also includes Priests for Life, an organization of priests and laity that advocates against the death penalty and abortion, and 12 Catholic dioceses, the Washington Examiner reported.
"Maybe we should have called it the 'Dirty Eight-Dozen Plus Four,'" Ireland said.
"Maybe you should have called it 'Groups With Whom We Disagree,'" Kelly countered.
The Supreme Court last week upheld the right of two companies, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties, to refuse to provide coverage for some forms of birth control. Included among the medical procedures covered by the mandate are some that are called abortifacients, in that they terminate the life of a fertilized ovum. Like the Little Sisters of the Poor and other religiously affiliated organizations, the owners of the two privately held, for-profit corporations claimed they try to run their businesses according to their religious beliefs and that to provide the required coverage would violate those beliefs. The requirement has also been challenged in 50 other cases, according to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which represented Hobby Lobby.
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