EWTN Files Suit Against Goverment over Contraception Mandate


EWTN Global Catholic Network has filed a lawsuit to stop the contraception mandate.
Looking to stop the imposition of the contraception mandate and seek a declaratory judgment that the rule is unconstitutional, EWTN filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Birmingham, Ala. against the Department of Health & Human Services, HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius and other government agencies.
The lawsuit, filed on EWTN's behalf by Mark Rienzi, Kyle Duncan, and Erik Kniffin from the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, makes EWTN the first Catholic organization to initiate legal action since the final HHS rules were published by the Obama administration on Jan. 20.
"We had no other option but to take this to the courts," said EWTN president and CEO Michael Warsaw in a statement. "Under the HHS mandate, EWTN is being forced by the government to make a choice: either we provide employees coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and violate our conscience or offer our employees and their families no health insurance coverage at all. Neither of those choices is acceptable."
Warsaw said the suit is aimed at protecting the rights for an array of groups.
"We are taking this action to defend not only ourselves but also to protect other institutions - Catholic and non-Catholic, religious and secular - from having this mandate imposed upon them," Warsaw noted. "The government is forcing EWTN, first, to inform its employees about how to get contraception, sterilization and abortifacient drugs, a concept known as forced speech. To make the matter worse, the government then will force EWTN to use its donors' funds to pay for these same morally objectionable procedures or to pay for the huge fines it will levy against us if we fail to provide health care insurance. There is no question that this mandate violates our First Amendment rights. This is a moment when EWTN, as a Catholic organization, has to step up and say that enough is enough. Our hope is that our lawsuit does just that."
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is a non-profit, public-interest law firm dedicated to protecting the free expression of all religious traditions