PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Led by Bishop David Zubik, the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, Catholic Charities and Catholic Cemeteries filed a 60-page lawsuit against the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services Department over a controversial mandate on birth control and other women’s health services.
“Under the HHS mandate, our church-sponsored organizations — everything from hospitals for the sick to soup kitchens that feed the hungry — are required to let the federal government determine which of our beliefs we can follow and which of our beliefs we cannot follow,” Zubik said at a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Because HHS will soon require all women to have access to free birth control through employer insurance, the diocese says, if required to provide such to their employees, this violates its own religious principles against contraceptives.
“This lawsuit is meant to protect that freedom already guaranteed to us by the Constitution,” Zubik said.
In response to similar objections, President Obama issued an accommodation last February, providing health services to all women but making the insurance companies, not the Catholic institution, pay for it.
“These employers will not have to pay for or provide contraceptive services. But women who work at these institutions will have access to free contraceptive services just like other women,” the President said at the time.
Zubik says it’s not enough.
“The issue there for me is that we’re still involved because we would have to facilitate that process,” he said.
This lawsuit is one of many filed all over the country today by many Catholic dioceses and institutions.
Zubik says the diocese has a self-insured insurance plan — meaning they cannot help but be involved — but HHS officials say they are working on a way to accommodate even this.
The bishop denied this lawsuit was politically-motivated.