The Archdiocese of Miami filed a lawsuit Friday against the leaders of three U.S. agencies, questioning the legality of a new federal mandate requiring religious organizations to provide healthcare coverage for employees that covers abortion drugs and contraception.
At a news conference Friday at archdiocese headquarters in Miami Shores, Archbishop Thomas Wenski announced he had filed the suit in Miami federal court on behalf of the archdiocese, Catholic Health Services and Catholic Hospice against secretaries Kathleen Sebelius of Health and Human Services, Hilda Solis of the Department of Labor and Timothy Geithner of the Treasury.
"I am defending religious freedom for the Catholic Church and its many ministries," Wenski said. "The government should not force Catholic institutions to provide medical procedures or products that violate the teachings of the Catholic Church."
The Archdiocese of Miami alleges that the mandate requires health services that violate the faith.
"If the mandate is not rescinded or overturned, the government would force the church and its helping ministries like Catholic Health Services to have to say no to those who are most in need of our care … those who are poor, sick, dying," Wenski said.
The suit claims the mandate violates the federal Religious Restoration Act, the free exercise of the religion clause of the First Amendment, the establishment clause of the First Amendment, the free speech clause of the First Amendment, and questions the rule-making authority of the Department of Health and Human Services.