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Local diocese, others file religious liberty suits

Statement as issued Monday by the diocese:

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Inc., the University of Saint Francis, Catholic Charities of the diocese, Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., Saint Anne Home & Retirement Community of the diocese, Franciscan Alliance, Inc., and the University of Notre Dame have filed federal lawsuits in defense of religious liberty on May 21st, 2012 at 11:00 AM. The defendants named were the U.S. Department of Health and Human services (HHS), the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the U.S. Department of Labor, and their respective Secretaries. The lawsuit stems from the recently enacted Health and Human Services mandate in which religious employers who do not qualify for a narrow exemption will be forced to provide to their employees abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraceptive products and services at no cost to employees. This mandate presents a clear and present danger to these Catholic entities' ability to teach and live their faith, and would make them complicit in providing and facilitating products and services contrary to their clearly-stated doctrines.

The plaintiffs in this case believe the HHS mandate to be clearly unconstitutional and any accommodations previously made were substandard and unacceptable.

This lawsuit is about an unprecedented attack by the federal government on one of America's most cherished freedoms: the freedom to practice one's religion without government interference. It is not about whether people have access to certain services; it is about whether the government may force religious institutions and individuals to provide and facilitate services which violate their religious beliefs.

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