Important Update: ACLJ Secures Appeals Court Injunction To Halt Enforcement of HHS Mandate for Illinois Company Read More.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 4

Latest News and Information

Courts urged not to dismiss Catholic lawsuits against HHS mandate

By Nancy Frazier O'BrienCatholic News Service
Posted on: Thursday, August 30th, 2012
Original publication date: August 29, 2012

In a dozen courts around the country, attorneys representing more than 40 Catholic dioceses or institutions have filed briefs arguing against the federal government’s call to dismiss lawsuits against its contraceptive mandate.

The Catholic entities are seeking to overturn a requirement that most religious employers provide contraceptives and sterilization to their employees.

The simultaneous filings Aug. 27 were in response to an Aug. 6 brief in which the Obama administration asked the courts to summarily dismiss the suits, saying they were premature and that the plaintiffs had no standing to challenge the Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate.

“This case is about important rights to religious freedom protected by our founders under the First Amendment, assured by Congress under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but trampled by Defendants under haphazard rulemaking,” says the 36-page brief filed on behalf of the University of Notre Dame.

Forty-three Catholic dioceses, schools, hospitals, social service agencies and other institutions initially filed suit in federal court May 21 to stop three government agencies from implementing a mandate that would require them to cover contraceptives and sterilization in their health plans. The Diocese of Peoria, Ill., and Catholic Charities of Chicago have since joined the lawsuits.

Catholic organizations have objected to the contraceptive mandate since it was announced Aug. 1, 2011, by Kathleen Sebelius, HHS secretary. Unless they are subject to a narrow religious exemption or have a grandfathered health plan, employers will be required to pay for sterilizations and contraceptives, including some abortion-inducing drugs, as part of their health coverage.

Follow this link to read more.

About Preserve Religious Freedom

This lawsuit is about religious freedom and our ability to serve the public, not about contraception. The Church maintains that the First Amendment protects the Catholic Church's ability to serve the public in accordance with its faith and to operate its religious institutions without government interference. The argument challenges the way the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) defines what is, and is not, a religious institution. By including an exemption at all, the government apparently agrees that, in keeping with decades of practice and precedent, religious institutions should not be compelled to purchase drugs or procedures that violate deeply held religious or moral beliefs.

But, the Administration's HHS mandate defines religious ministry so narrowly that religious schools, hospitals, and social services don't qualify as religious, and must therefore provide these drugs and procedures. This violates the First Amendment's guarantee of religious freedom. It forces religious organizations to sacrifice their beliefs in order to be able to continue their mission of serving the public. Read more about the plaintiffs filing this lawsuit here.

Preserve Religious Freedom
c/o Archdiocese of Washington
P.O. Box 29260
Washington, DC 20017-0260

Privacy Policy