Group of 200 Catholic employers sues to block HHS mandate

President Barack Obama with HHS Sec Kathleen Sebelius announce the contraceptive mandate at the White House, Jan. 12, 2012. Official White House Photo by Pete Souza.

In one of the largest collective lawsuits against the federal HHS mandate, the Catholic Benefit Association, representing more than 200 Catholic employers and more than 19,000 employees nationwide, has filed a suit on the grounds that the measure compels the violation of Catholic teachings.

The association's employers are “united and committed in their defense of their first amendment right to give witness to their Catholic faith through their ministries and businesses by providing life-affirming employee health care coverage that is consistent with Catholic teaching,” the Archdiocese of Baltimore said March 12.

The benefit association's employers include Catholic dioceses, around 1,000 parishes, non-profits and Catholic-owned for-profit businesses. Its membership is open to Catholic religious congregations, Catholic medical facilities, and Catholic universities.

The association formed the Catholic Insurance Company to allow Catholic employers to exercise their faith in what health care coverage they provide to their employees. The association also arranges health provider networks to help Catholic employers provide comprehensive health care that is consistent with Catholic ethics.

The March 12 lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, asks that the court protect the association’s member employers by allowing them to opt out of the mandated coverage.

Baltimore Archbishop William L. Lori, the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City have also joined the lawsuit.

“We as Catholics – regardless of the corporate structure within which we work – cannot in good conscience provide employees with insurance that covers contraception, abortifacients and sterilization, which undermine the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life and also jeopardize the physical and mental health of those who use them in untold ways,” Archbishop Paul S. Coakley of Oklahoma City said.

“It is my prayer that the courts will recognize that the federal government has no clear and compelling public interest that justifies burdening our free exercise of religion by requiring us to pay for conscience-violating drugs and procedures.”
 
The mandate, implemented through 2010 health care legislation known as the Affordable Care Act, requires employers to provide employees free coverage of sterilization and contraception, including drugs that may cause abortions. Catholic teaching rejects the drugs and procedures as immoral and rejects cooperation in their provision.

Other plaintiffs to the lawsuit include the Catholic Insurance Company, Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma’s All Saints’ Catholic School, The Cathedral Foundation in Baltimore, Villa St. Francis Catholic Care Center in Kansas City, Kan. and Good Will Publishers in North Carolina.

Before Monday, there were 93 lawsuits challenging mandate. These lawsuits represent over 300 Catholic and non-Catholic plaintiffs with objections to providing the coverage.

More information about the Catholic Benefits Association is available at the website http://www.lifeaffirmingcare.com.


Voices

Statement on U.S. Supreme Court Decision in United States v. Texas

Archbishop José H. Gomez

Our nation’s ongoing failure to address the immigration crisis is a humanitarian tragedy. For more than a decade, state and local governments, Congress, the President, the courts — and now the highest court in the land — all have failed in their responsibilities to address this issue. 

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June 25, 2016

  • Saturday, June 25

    Los Angeles Foster Care and Adoption Information Meeting, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Children’s Bureau Foster Care & Adoption, 1910 Magnolia Ave., Los Angeles. Discover if you have the ability and resources to help a child in need. To RSVP or for more information, call (800) 730-3933. To request an information packet, go to: www.all4kids.org/program/foster-care.

     

    His Mercy Endures Forever, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Grand Ballroom, Long Beach Convention Center, 300 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach. Presented by The Sower Metanoia. Speakers: Fr. R. Tony Richard from New Orleans; Lay evangelist Jesse Romero; Fr. Ismael Robles; Sower prayer ministry leader Sandra Burroughs, Noel Diaz, founder of El Sembrador. Praise & Worship- The Sower Band. Donation $25/person (Buy 3 tix get a 4th free). Info: (877) 714-5679, Spanish (818) 700-4938. Get tickets at www.sowermetanoia.com.

     

    New Rite of Matrimony Workshop by the Archdiocesan Office for Worship, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., St. Junipero Serra, 5205 Upland Rd., Camarillo. Speakers from the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship and the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC). Implementation of the new rite begins Sept. 8, 2016, and is mandated as of Dec. 30, 2016. To register, go to: www.fdlc.org.

     

    How Can This Man Give Us His Flesh to Eat?, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m., St Madeleine parish, 931 East Kingsley Ave., Pomona. The many prophecies, antetypes and allusions to the Holy Eucharist and Holy Mass found in the Torah and in the Gospels--along with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A mini-retreat conducted by Tidings columnist Sean M. Wright. Register at the parish. Info: (909) 629-9495. 

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