Georgia's Catholic archdiocese, diocese file suit against HHS mandate
Published: October 10, 2012
ATLANTA (CNS) -- The Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Diocese of Savannah and other Catholic entities in Georgia, including Catholic Charities and Christ the King School in Atlanta, filed a federal lawsuit Oct. 5 challenging the Health and Human Services' contraceptive mandate. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Atlanta. Defendants are the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; the U.S. Department of Labor and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis; and the U.S. Department of the Treasury and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. With this action, the Catholic Church in Georgia joins more than 50 other dioceses, schools, hospitals, social service agencies and other institutions that have filed suit in federal court to stop the three government agencies from implementing a mandate that would require most religious employers to provide for free contraceptives and sterilization in their health plans despite their moral objections to doing so. The lawsuit states that the U.S. government "is attempting to force plaintiffs -- all Catholic entities -- to provide, pay for, and/or facilitate access to abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception in violation of their sincerely held religious beliefs." Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory said the lawsuit was necessary for the archdiocese, because the "stakes are so incredibly high -- our religious liberty and that of our fellow Catholics and people of other religious faiths as well as those with no professed religious belief throughout the nation are impacted by this proposed action." He also said the "unchallenged results of the HHS mandate would require that we compromise or violate our religious faith and ethical beliefs." The lawsuit stated that the archdiocese and other plaintiffs "acknowledge that individuals in this country have a legal right to these medical services; they are, and will continue to be, freely available in the United States, and nothing prevents the government itself from making them more widely available."
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