The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., is arguing in a new lawsuit that the Obama administration is engaged in a “conscious political strategy to marginalize and delegitimize” Catholic “religious views on contraception by holding them up for ridicule on the national stage.”
At issue in the lawsuit is whether the administration can force the archdiocese to secure a third-party administrator for its self-insurance plan who will provide sterilizations, contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs at no cost to church employees at some of the archdiocese’s separately incorporated subunits.
These subunits include a number of Catholic schools and charities, including Archbishop Carroll High School and Catholic Charities of Washington.
“[T]he Archdiocese operates a self-insurance plan that encompasses not only individuals directly employed by the Archdiocese itself, but, in addition, individuals employed by affiliated Catholic organizations,” says the church’s lawsuit.
Because the Obama administration’s sterilization-contraceptive-abortifacient mandate does not deem these Catholic organizations to be “religious employers,” says the lawsuit, “the U.S. Government Mandate requires that the archdiocese either (1) sponsor a plan that will provide, pay for, and/or facilitate the provision of the objectionable products and services to the employees of” these church organizations “or (2) no longer extend its plan to these organizations, subjecting them to massive fines if they do not contract with another insurance provider that will provide the objectionable coverage.”
Lawyers representing the archdiocese filed a memorandum with U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Sept. 24, pointing to actions and statements made by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to demonstrate that the administration is deliberately targeting the Catholic Church for its religious views.