Boom! Dozens of Catholic institutions file suits over HHS mandate

Image via A Catholic View

As I said on the very first day the outrageous HHS contraception mandate came down,  it was a huge tactical error for the Obama administration to pick a fight with the Catholic church during an election year.

There was absolutely no way the church was going to lay down on such a critical life issue – in fact, they are going on the offense.

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reports:

Dozens of Catholic institutions filed lawsuits today against the Department of Health and Human Services over its mandate and its narrow definition of religious practice:

Catholic archdioceses and institutions filed suit in federal district courts across the country Monday against the so-called contraception mandate, claiming their “fundamental rights hang in the balance.”

The plaintiffs include a host of schools and organizations, including the University of Notre Dame and the Archdiocese of New York. The lawsuits, though related, were filed individually.

The schools are objecting to the requirement from the federal health care overhaul that employers provide access to contraceptive care. The Obama administration several months back softened its position on the mandate, but some religious organizations complained the administration did not go far enough to ensure the rule would not compel them to violate their religious beliefs.

Kathryn Jean Lopez posts a brief statement from Timothy Cardinal Dolan, president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and one of the chief critics of the HHS mandate:

We have tried negotiation with the Administration and legislation with the Congress – and we’ll keep at it – but there’s still no fix. Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now. Though the Conference is not a party to the lawsuits, we applaud this courageous action by so many individual dioceses, charities, hospitals and schools across the nation, in coordination with the law firm of Jones Day. It is also a compelling display of the unity of the Church in defense of religious liberty. It’s also a great show of the diversity of the Church’s ministries that serve the common good and that are jeopardized by the mandate – ministries to the poor, the sick, and the uneducated, to people of any faith or no faith at all.

The institutions filing lawsuits don’t just comprise a few ultraconservative institutions, either.  The University of Notre Dame hosted a speech by President Barack Obama in 2009, but today insists that Obama and his administration are attacking religious freedom in their complaint.

Read Captain Ed’s entire post for more links, plus Franciscan University president, Father Terence Henry’s video statement.

The Obama administration’s attempts at misdirection on the issue – turning it into a debate about women’s rights and what-not –  has ended up uniting the church against them,and insulting the intelligence of women with working brain cells.

Like Ed says,

This oppressive move may well cast Catholics off from the Democratic Party for a generation.  This will be a “come to Jesus” moment for many Catholics, and a wake-up call to the USCCB about the nature of government mandates in general.

Better late than never.

Linked by Michelle Malkin, thanks!

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17 thoughts on “Boom! Dozens of Catholic institutions file suits over HHS mandate

  1. Sebelius’ response: “… an America “where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace.”

    Only the government is allowed to do that.

    I wonder if Georgetown will join in the suits……

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  7. “There was absolutely no way the church was going to lay down on such a critical life issue”

    Really? They seemed to suck it up just fine during both Bush terms.
    It’s been the law since before he took office. Regardless of that law, most Catholic institutions covered prescriptions and abortion for employees since it was more costly to seek out policies which didn’t cover these.
    So, you know…. the past decade begs to differ.

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  8. Regardless of that law, most Catholic institutions covered prescriptions and abortion for employees since it was more costly to seek out policies which didn’t cover these.
    So, you know…. the past decade begs to differ.

    Really?
    I would be interested in seeing your source for that… It’s not the hapless Rachel Maddow, I hope. Her own colleague at MSNBC had to humiliate her on the air with a correction to her falsehoods on the issue.

    http://newsbusters.org/blogs/jack-coleman/2012/02/12/msnbcs-lawrence-odonnell-pay-no-attention-what-youve-heard-rachel-madd

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  9. Pingback: Logarchism » Rights in Conflict

  10. “Really? I would be interested in seeing your source for that”

    It was a survey by Project Sycamore, a trust dedicated to the concept that Notre Dame isn’t Catholic enough.
    So, you know, not really Rachel Maddow in terms of slant.

    You can find similar reporting from CatholicNewsAgency.com and a pretty thorough non-religious roundup of this already being required by state laws from ThinkProgress if you google the phrase “most catholic institutions already cover contraception”

    This source cuts out a lot of the commentary…
    motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/controversial-obama-birth-control-rule-already-law
    “In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn’t provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex. That opinion, which the George W. Bush administration did nothing to alter or withdraw when it took office the next month, is still in effect today—and because it relies on Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it applies to all employers with 15 or more employees. Employers that don’t offer prescription coverage or don’t offer insurance at all are exempt, because they treat men and women equally—but under the EEOC’s interpretation of the law, you can’t offer other preventative care coverage without offering birth control coverage, too.”

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  11. “It has been in active use all this time. [President Obama’s] policy is only new in the sense that it covers employers with less than 15 employees and with no copay for the individual. The basic rule has been in place since 2000.”

    So we’re really talking about Obama’s attack on Catholic study groups, not Catholic Universities who this already applied to.
    Or more accurately, we’re talking about Catholics who’ve had no change in their status but have been given a reason to get their head on the TV.

    Maybe after GOP moves to overturn equal pay laws for women, requiring forced penetration, spending an entire decade demonising the latino demographic and cheering an attempt to outlaw unions, taking on the Civil Rights Act will be a winner with voters. Who knows. At least all these grand ideas are being field tested outside of an election year to see if they’re worth it. Oh wait….

    It used to be that the Democrats were the hopelessly inept party when it came to political strategy. Now, somehow it’s the GOP that actually needs to be told that it’s fine to try and legislate every fantasy you want to live out that will make you really happy you vote GOP, but once every 4 years everyone gets a say on how smart that was.

    On the other hand, maybe Romney knows some Spanish.

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  12. “Maybe after GOP moves to overturn equal pay laws for women, requiring forced penetration….”

    I stand in awe at such monumental ignorance.

    “Now, somehow it’s the GOP that actually needs to be told that it’s fine to try and legislate every fantasy you want to live out…”

    So it was the GOP that was firmly behind Obamacare? The GOP who handed over a billion dollars or so to the instantly-bankrupt company, Solyndra?

    It is true, as you say, that the Democrats were hopelessly inept in terms of political strategy. But they’ve learned. Now they’re hopelessly inept in terms of foreign policy, economic policy, and all the other policies they’ve bungled over the past 4 years.

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  13. Sanza, Hith — Whatever the source of the claims — they’ve been effectively debunked. There’s a reason why the Catholic Church is up in arms over the new HHS mandate – (and it has nothing to do with the President’s skin tone, or his “funny name” – it’s because the new mandate doesn’t give them any way to opt out.

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  14. Pingback: hhs frustrations | with restless hearts

  15. Pingback: Michelle Obama To Black Churchgoers: There is ‘No Place Better’ Than Church to Talk About Political Issues « Nice Deb

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