The Catholic Diocese of Nashville, Aquinas College and others filed suit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in federal court Wednesday claiming the section of the federal health care law referred to as the “contraception mandate” is unconstitutional.
The college’s board of directors as well as the General Council of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia unanimously approved the lawsuit, which seeks to prevent the federal government from enforcing that section of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In a statement, President Sister Mary Sarah Galbraith said the mandate placed Aquinas in a “precarious position” in which the “narrowness of the religious employer exemption clause within this mandate seriously compromises our freedom as an institution to act according to our conscience.”
Galbraith continued, “We are now placed in the position of having little choice but to proceed with litigation. We do this in order to protect our most fundamental right to exercise our consciences and our religious beliefs freely.”
Leaders of the college assert that the restrictions the mandate places on “service agencies that exist for the sake of the common good” unfairly burdens those who rely on the services provided by those agencies, such as “food, health care, education, and the basic needs of daily life.”
The statement reads, “It is regrettable that those agencies and individuals who have publically pledged their lives in service of the needs of all humankind, from conception to natural death, must now defend themselves from a Federal Government that pledged more than 200 years ago to protect, defend, and secure the Blessings of Liberty for each and every American.”
For the full text of the Aquinas release, click here.
Catholic Charities of Tennessee, Father Ryan High School, Pope John Paul II High School, Mary Queen of Angels, Villa Maria Manor, and St. Mary Villa are also listed as plaintiffs in the suit.
|Aquinas College HHS release and statement.doc||1.6 MB|