Lawsuits' dismissal called disappointing but won't end legal challenge
Published: November 29, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- After judges in two separate rulings Nov. 27 dismissed lawsuits filed by Catholic organizations and dioceses in Pennsylvania and Tennessee challenging the federal contraceptive mandate, Catholic leaders in both states expressed disappointment but also some hope the rulings left the door open to refiling their claims. Two days later, a federal appeals court in St. Louis granted a temporary injunction against enforcement of the mandate while a Catholic business owner prepares an appeal of a lower court ruling that rejected his claim the federal requirement is a burden on his religious rights because he is morally opposed to providing contraceptive coverage. In Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Bishop David A. Zubik said Nov. 28 that he was disappointed in the U.S. District Court ruling but "very encouraged that it was 'dismissed without prejudice.' That means that we have every right to file again in the future." The Diocese of Pittsburgh, along with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh Inc., and the Catholic Cemeteries Association of Pittsburgh, filed suit in May against a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate that requires employers to include coverage for contraceptives, sterilization and some abortion-inducing drugs free of charge, even if the employer is morally opposed to such services. In Tennessee, the Nashville Diocese in a statement said the order of dismissal by the U.S. District Court there "does not foreclose the bringing of similar claims once the alleged administrative change to the mandate takes place." The Diocese of Nashville, joined by Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Father Ryan High School, Pope John Paul II High School, Mary Queen of Angels assisted living facility, Villa Maria Manor and St. Mary Villa Child Development Center and Aquinas College, which is owned and operated by the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation filed suit in federal court in mid-September against the HHS contraception mandate.
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