The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking to insert itself on the side of the government and against the Catholic organizations in Wyoming, including Wyoming Catholic College and a number of Catholic schools, that are resisting the HHS mandate, which requires them to provide coverage of abortifacients, contraceptives, and sterilization procedures, according to the Wyoming Star Tribune.
U.S. District Judge Scott Skavdahl, a President Obama nominee, has reportedly scheduled a hearing for next month to decide whether to issue an injunction.
The ACLU filed a request earlier this week to enter an amicus curiae brief in support of the mandate, saying that while they support the free exercise of religion they see view the issue more as a matter of gender equality.
“[C]ourts have long recognized that the right to religious liberty, while fundamental, does not give organizations or individuals carte blanche to interfere with the rights of others, to violate compelling government policies, or to impose their religious beliefs on others,” the group's brief states.
Jen Horvath, lawyer for the ACLU in Wyoming, reportedly said to the media that the mandate does not violate the religious freedom of the Catholic groups.
"All this rule does is requires the Diocese of Cheyenne to send a two-page form to their third-party administrator, basically the health care plan, that due to religious objections, they want to exclude contraceptive coverage from their health care, their health insurance," Horvath reportedly said. "It's no different materially from what they had to do before this rule went into effect and it's not a burden on their religious freedom."
The Catholic organizations stated in their lawsuit that the mandate ordered them to "violate their religious beliefs or suffer crippling consequences."
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