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New lawsuit challenges Affordable Care Act

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A Catholic organization is challenging the Affordable Care Act in a lawsuit filed in the United State District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

The Catholic Benefits Association (CBA) filed the lawsuit to stop the mandate by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that would force faith-based employers to violate their religiously-held beliefs and the teaching of the Catholic Church by providing health insurance coverage for surgical sterilizations, contraceptive drugs, and abortion-inducing drugs so as to be in compliance with the Affordable Care Act.

The filing asks the court to protect the CBA members’ free exercise of religion by allowing the employer-members to opt out of the HHS mandate’s coverage requirement.

The plaintiffs in the lawsuit include The Catholic Benefit Association, The Catholic Insurance Company, The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Inc., All Saints Catholic School in Oklahoma, and many others.

“We as Catholics, regardless of the corporate structure within which we work, cannot in good conscience provide employees with insurance that covers contraception, abortifacients and sterilization, which undermine the dignity of the human person and the sanctity of human life and also jeopardize the physical and mental health of those who use them,” said the Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City.

“It is my prayer that the courts will recognize that the federal government has no compelling public interest that justifies burdening our free exercise of religion by requiring us to pay for or provide conscience-violating drugs and procedures.”

The CBA, which represents nearly 200 Catholic employers and 19,000 employees nationwide, currently has a health care plan that is consistent with their beliefs.

This is not the first organization to file a lawsuit in response to the Affordable Care Act.