Skip to main content


State of Alabama Joins EWTN Lawsuit Against HHS Mandate

3/22/2012 - 8:16 AM PST

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA ADVISORY
Catholic PRWire

Cites Citizens’ Conscience Protections Under State Constitution

Irondale, AL (March 22, 2012) – The Attorney General of the State of Alabama filed documents today in US District Court in Birmingham, Alabama to join EWTN Global Catholic Network as a plaintiff in its lawsuit against the Obama Administration’s contraception mandate. EWTN filed its lawsuit on February 9, asking the federal courts to overturn the new rules which require most U.S. employers to provide contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs in their health plans even if it violates their conscience.

“We are grateful to Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange for taking such a strong stand on this issue,” said EWTN President and Chief Executive Officer Michael P. Warsaw. “This suit demonstrates that the Alabama motto, ‘We dare to defend our rights,’ is no mere slogan. The state could simply have chosen to file a brief advising the court of the impact of the case on its citizens. Instead, it is intervening in the suit as a co-plaintiff with EWTN. The Attorney General of Alabama is saying, in effect, that this unjust, unconstitutional mandate hurts not only EWTN, but the entire community.”

According to the state’s motion to intervene, filed March 22, Alabama law does not mandate that insurers must provide contraception or sterilization coverage or that any employer or person in the state is required to purchase such coverage. The documents note that Alabama citizens enjoy the freedom to contract for an insurance plan or with a religious-affiliated insurer that does not cover these services. In contrast, the federal regulation would mandate the type of health insurance Alabama could offer on its state-run health insurance exchange, and, if allowed to stand, would preempt Alabama law guaranteeing its citizens’ right of conscience.

In addition, the state asserts the regulation would force conscientious objectors to opt-out of their private health plans having the unfortunate result of increasing the number of people requiring healthcare from Medicaid and other state-supported programs.

The Attorney General also notes that he has statutory responsibilities to ensure that Alabama charitable institutions adhere to their purposes and bylaws. The federal regulation would take such control away from the state by interfering with the mission of religious not-for-profits like EWTN.

Warsaw says this last point is particularly important. “When the federal government uses its power to coerce a faith-based organization to act contrary to its deeply held values, it destroys that organization’s capacity to fulfill its mission. Ultimately, as is the case with the HHS mandate, if that organization is unwilling to compromise its beliefs, it is destroyed by fines and crushing government penalties; it ceases to exist. In joining EWTN’s lawsuit, Attorney General Strange shows that he understands this is unacceptable. I am very grateful that he has chosen to use the state’s power to intervene for the common good.”

In commenting on the state’s action, Attorney General Luther Strange stated, “The freedom of religion, and to believe as one sees fit, is our ‘first freedom’ under the United States Constitution. The people of Alabama have recognized the importance of this freedom and have enshrined it in their Constitution as well. Alabama law does not allow anyone to be forced to offer a product that is against his or her religious beliefs or conscience.

“The issue is simple: Either Alabamians and Americans around the country will be allowed to exercise their religious freedom to say ‘no’ to something they disagree with, or they won’t. We hope the Obama Administration will listen, and adopt a position that supports our first freedom rather than undermines it.”

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 30th year, is available in over 200 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM & FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website www.ewtn.com, electronic and print news services, and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world.

Editors: To view the complaint, please go to http://www.ago.alabama.gov/Update-193.

Media Advisory: For further information on the complaint, please join the press call at 11:30 a.m. ET, Thursday, March 22 with Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, EWTN General Counsel John Manos, and Becket Fund General Counsel Kyle Duncan. Call (800) 704-9804, and use participant code 743216.

Contact

EWTN Global Catholic Network
http://www.ewtn.com/hhsmandate  AL, 35210 US
Michelle Johnson - Director of Communications,  205-795-5769

Keywords

EWTN, Alabama, HHS, mandate, constitution, Obama, Obamacare, Catholic

Category

Catholic Organizations

Rate This Article

Very Helpful Somewhat Helpful Not Helpful at All

Yes, I am Interested No, I am not Interested

Rate Article

0 Comments

Leave a Comment

Comments submitted must be civil, remain on-topic and not violate any laws including copyright. We reserve the right to delete any comments which are abusive, inappropriate or not constructive to the discussion.

Though we invite robust discussion, we reserve the right to not publish any comment which denigrates the human person, undermines marriage and the family, or advocates for positions which openly oppose the teaching of the Catholic Church.

This is a supervised forum and the Editors of Catholic Online retain the right to direct it.

We also reserve the right to block any commenter for repeated violations. Your email address is required to post, but it will not be published on the site.

We ask that you NOT post your comment more than once. Catholic Online is growing and our ability to review all comments sometimes results in a delay in their publication.

Send me important information from Catholic Online and it's partners. See Sample

Post Comment

Newsletter Sign Up

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 15:1-4
And I saw in heaven another sign, great and wonderful: seven ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 98:1, 2-3, 7-8, 9
[Psalm] Sing a new song to Yahweh, for he has performed ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:12-19
'But before all this happens, you will be seized and ... Read More

Saint of the Day

November 26 Saint of the Day

St. John Berchmans
November 26: Eldest son of a shoemaker, John was born at Diest, Brabant. ... Read More