Oklahoma Federal Court rules Catholic employers are exempt from contraceptive mandate

OKLAHOMA CITY - The United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma ruled that all employer members of the Catholic Benefits Association are exempt from the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate 

The Court also ruled that the more than 450 CBA employer members and the almost 2,000 Catholic parishes that are members shall not be liable for "any penalties, fines and assessments for noncompliance with" the mandate.

Archbishop William Lori, President of the Catholic Benefits Association and Archbishop of Baltimore, remarked, "we formed the Catholic Benefits Association to support Catholic employers in providing quality, cost-competitive, morally compliant health care benefits for their employees. Yesterday' decision makes this a reality."

It is also one of only a few class action suits in which so many religious groups have sued the federal government because its mandate violates their religious beliefs.

In March, the CBA and eight other Catholic organizations, filed the class action lawsuit seeking to protect its members' exercise of religion by exempting them from the Mandate that requires them to provide coverage for free contraceptives, abortion inducing drugs, abortion inducing devices, sterilization, and related counseling.

The named plaintiffs in the CBA lawsuit include The Catholic Benefit Association, The Catholic Insurance Company, the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, Inc., All Saints Catholic School in Oklahoma, Archbishop William E. Lori and the Archdiocese of Baltimore, The Cathedral Foundation in Baltimore, Villa St. Francis Catholic Care Center in Kansas City, KS, and Good Will Publishers in North Carolina.

The CBA is an association of Catholic employers united in their defense of their first amendment right to witness to their Catholic faith, through their ministries and businesses, by providing their employees with life-affirming health care coverage that is complies with Catholic teaching.

It serves more than 450 Catholic employers, including 8 archdioceses, 15 dioceses, and others. 

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