Friday, November 28, 2014

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Federal Court Exempts Hundreds of Catholic Employers from HHS Mandate

A federal court has decided that a recently formed coalition called The Catholic Benefits Association (CBA), which represents more than 450 employers and 19,000 employees, is exempt from the Obama administration’s HHS mandate, according to the Catholic News Agency.

The class action lawsuit, which was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma, sought relief from the mandate which requires coverage of contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs, as was previously reported.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include All Saints Catholic School in Oklahoma, the Catholic Benefits Association, the Catholic Insurance Company, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Inc., Archbishop William Lori and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Cathedral Foundation in Baltimore, Villa St. Francis Catholic Care Center in Kansas, and Good Will Publishers in North Carolina.

“We are grateful for the ruling, but continue to pray that our leaders recognize that Catholics, whether bishops or businessmen, cannot in good conscience provide insurance that covers drugs and procedures that undermine the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life,” Archbishop Paul Coakley of Oklahoma City, the benefit association’s vice-president, reportedly said. “Religious freedom entails more than the right to worship and any contrary legislation must be opposed.”

Archbishop Lori, the association’s president, reportedly said that the decision makes the goal of providing “quality, cost-competitive, morally compliant health care benefits for their employees,” a reality.

Martin Nussbaum, the general counsel of the association, reportedly said the lawsuit is the only challenge to the HHS mandate that includes Catholic-owned for-profit businesses and other non-exempt organizations.

Later this month, the Supreme Court will reportedly announce its decision in the case brought against the administration by the for-profit Hobby Lobby company.

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