Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh appeals dismissal of suit, saying birth-control mandate unconstitutional
The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh will appeal the dismissal of its lawsuit against the Obama administration and continue challenging a federal requirement on birth control, the diocese announced on Friday.
“We feel so strongly about this issue. It's an issue of our religious freedom, and we have to take every option to preserve our rights,” said Rita F. Joyce, general counsel for the diocese.
The diocese in May filed one of about 40 similar cases nationwide, declaring unconstitutional a portion of the federal health-care mandate. Specifically, the diocese argued, the government breached its religious freedom by demanding that it facilitate and, in some cases, pay for abortion-inducing drugs, birth control and other services that violate its religious beliefs.
U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry dismissed the lawsuit in November. The health-insurance law has not harmed the diocese because most of the regulations will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2014, McVerry wrote.
He noted the government already has “begun the process of amending the regulations to address the specific religious objections” raised by the diocese.
Federal officials are expected to introduce by late March an amendment to accommodate the religious concerns, Joyce said. She said the diocese is “cautiously optimistic.”
But “we filed the appeal (notice) to preserve our right and to proceed further,” Joyce said. Without it, “we would be precluded from once again raising all of our issues.”
The diocese filed its notice Wednesday in U.S. District Court, Downtown.
Joyce said the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals may look at the matter “in a totally different light.”
The diocese's lawsuit lists as defendants Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and the federal agencies they lead. Plaintiffs include the diocese, Bishop David Zubik, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Pittsburgh and the Catholic Cemeteries Association of the Diocese of Pittsburgh.
Adam Smeltz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5676 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Police identify victim of deadly Homewood shooting
- Police charge Oakmont man in fatal Penn Hills shooting
- Pitcairn police department to carry Narcan for heroin overdoses
- Pittsburgh bishop throws cold water on ALS group, which uses embryonic stem cells
- AT&T offers customers option to text 911
- 6 arrested after brief SWAT standoff in Fineview
- Sri Shirdi Sai Baba Temple in Monroeville plans expansion
- Vending business sold after pot-growing operation found in Lawrenceville
- Pittsburgh city vehicle repair delays elicit gripes about Cincinnati company
- August Wilson Center event rentals thwarted by cooling system repairs
- Renowned forensic pathologist Wecht critical of 3rd autopsy in Ferguson death