In an astonishing and unprecedented move today, Notre Dame and 40 other Catholic institutions have filed lawsuits against Obama and his Health & Human Services (HHS) to stop the HHS move requiring religious institutions to provide insurance coverage for sterilization, contraceptives and other abortifacient drugs to their employee, against the teaching of the church.
Father John Jenkins, Notre Dame President authored a letter to all Notre Dame employees explaining the suit and what it means.
May 21, 2012
A Message from Father John Jenkins, C.S.C.,
President, University of Notre Dame
Today the University of Notre Dame filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana regarding a recent mandate from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). That mandate requires Notre Dame and similar religious organizations to provide in their insurance plans abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization procedures, which are contrary to Catholic teaching. The decision to file this lawsuit came after much deliberation, discussion and efforts to find a solution acceptable to the various parties.
Let me say very clearly what this lawsuit is not about: it is not about preventing women from having access to contraception, nor even about preventing the Government from providing such services. Many of our faculty, staff and students — both Catholic and non-Catholic — have made conscientious decisions to use contraceptives. As we assert the right to follow our conscience, we respect their right to follow theirs. And we believe that, if the Government wishes to provide such services, means are available that do not compel religious organizations to serve as its agents. We do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others; we simply ask that the Government not impose its values on the University when those values conflict with our religious teachings. We have engaged in conversations to find a resolution that respects the consciences of all and we will continue to do so.
This filing is about the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission, and its significance goes well beyond any debate about contraceptive.
CNS News also reports that 40 other Catholic Dioceses have also file lawsuits against the HHS, to uphold the 1st Amendment of the US Constitutions "free exercise thereof."
The dioceses and organizations, in different combinations, are filing 12 different lawsuits filed in federal courts around the country.
The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. has established a special website--preservereligiousfreedom.org--to explain its lawsuit and present news and developments concerning it.
"This lawsuit is about an unprecedented attack by the federal government on one of America’s most cherished freedoms: the freedom to practice one’s religion without government interference," the archdiocese says on the website. "It is not about whether people have access to certain services; it is about whether the government may force religious institutions and individuals to facilitate and fund services which violate their religious beliefs."
May gods will be their strength to a historic victory in the courts!