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Speaker Ryan invites Little Sisters of the Poor to State of the Union

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Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan has invited Sister Loraine Marie Maguire and Sister Constance Veit, of the charitable Catholic order Little Sisters of the Poor, as his guests at the annual State of the Union Address this month.

“The Little Sisters of the Poor care for the most vulnerable among us, and they should be free to practice their faith without the threat of government interference or intimidation,” Ryan said in his announcement of the invitation Monday. “The Sisters’ stand in defense of religious liberty — one of our most fundamental rights — is nothing short of courageous, and it’s my privilege to support their cause.”

The Little Sisters have been one of the most high-profile targets of the Obama Administration’s efforts to force religious groups to provide contraceptive coverage. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against them last summer, but the US Supreme Court agreed in November to hear their case, as part of a consolidated consideration of all pending cases against the contraception mandate.

“For us, this has nothing to do with politics,” Sister Veit declared in October 2013. “We just want to take care of the elderly poor without being forced to violate the faith that animates our work.”

On Friday, Texas Senator and GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz proposed another gesture to symbolize the pro-life cause’s importance at the presidential address, an empty chair to recognize the more than 50 million preborn children killed by abortion.

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