The Obamacare contraception mandate is part of a deliberate plan to attack and marginalize Catholic beliefs “by holding them up for ridicule on the national stage,” according to a lawsuit filed by the Archdiocese of Washington and related groups.
Under the contraception mandate, the church-related employers are required to participate through a third-party administrator in providing contraception and abortion-inducing drugs as part of its insurance coverage. The archdiocese lawsuit, one of several filed around the country over the issue, charges that requirement is an unconstitutional imposition on religious freedom.
And it’s a strategy with a record of being aimed specifically at the Catholic Church, the lawsuit states.
According to CNS News, the archdiocese supports of charge of public ridicule by citing a statement made by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to the abortion advocacy group NARAL Pro-Choice America that appears to mock the church’s opposition to being forced to provide contraceptive coverage.
“Wouldn’t you think that people who want to reduce the number of abortions would champion the cause of widely affordable contraceptive services?” Sebelius asked at a NARAL fundraising speech in Chicago in 2011. “Not so much.”
The memorandum also states the federal mandate is based on a 1999 California state law that was written by then-state Sen. Jackie Speier, a Democrat who expressly stated the law was in response to centuries-old Catholic prohibitions on contraception.
“[Fifty-nine’ percent off all Catholic women of childbearing age practice contraception,” Spier said while the bill was being debated, according to the lawsuit. “Eighty-eight percent of Catholics believe . . . that someone who practices artificial birth control can still be a good Catholic. I agree with that. I think it’s time to do the right thing.”
Speier is now a member of the U.S. House of Representatives representing the San Francisco area. Her statements, the archdiocese lawsuit states, make it clear the Catholic church is the intended target of both the state and federal law.
“Thus, not only the ‘real operation’ but also the intended effect of the mandate is to target and suppress plaintiffs’ religious practices,” the lawsuit states.
The lawsuit, which names Sebelius as a defendant among others, including Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, was filed Sept. 20.