Pennsylvania Diocese: Birth Control Mandate ‘Historic’

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh say the federal government is trying to remove First Amendment religious protections from church-related schools and charities “for the first time in history” by mandating contraception and abortion coverage for employees.

The diocesan filing late Tuesday comes as a federal judge has scheduled a Nov. 12 hearing to determine whether to grant an injunction that would keep the church and its related entities from having to comply with laws which take effect Jan. 1.

Justice Department attorneys have argued that if Catholic Charities objects to coverage for contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, its insurance administrator — not the church — must then provide the coverage at no charge and seek reimbursement from the federal government.

But the diocese says that amounts to including such coverage in employee insurance plans “in invisible ink.”