Legatus, a national organization of leading Catholic business CEOs and professional leaders, has filed a federal lawsuit against the HHS mandate that requires insurance coverage for contraception and sterilization.
“This is a case about religious freedom,” the lawsuit’s 42-page complaint began. It charges that the mandate “forces employers and individuals to violate their religious beliefs because it requires employers and individuals to pay for insurance from insurance issuers which fund and directly provide for drugs, devices and services” that they believe are sinful.
The lawsuit specifically cites Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, which condemned contraception, abortion and abortifacients as a grave sin.
The Ann Arbor. Mich.-based Thomas More Law Center filed the lawsuit on Legatus’ behalf in the Federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The Michigan-based Weingartz Supply Co. and its president, Legatus member Daniel Weingartz, have joined the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs are seeking a court ruling to permanently block the implementation of the Department of Health and Human Services requirement that employers and individuals obtain insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including abortion-causing drugs.
The suit challenges the mandate on the grounds of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause and its protections for free speech and free exercise of religion. It also charges that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the Administrative Procedure Act.
Richard Thompson, the Thomas More Law Center’s president and chief counsel, said he believes “every American, regardless of religious beliefs, has a stake in the successful outcome of this lawsuit.”
“Whether you are a Catholic or Protestant or have no religion at all, the free exercise of religion and right of conscience is our most fundamental human right and must be vigorously defended on behalf of all Americans: or else our Constitution becomes nothing more than a piece of paper with nice-sounding words,” he said.
Legatus has more than 4,000 members, including businesspersons and their spouses from over 2,100 Catholic-run companies. It has 73 chapters in 31 U.S. states and three international chapters. The name for the group comes from the Latin word for “ambassador,” since it asks its members to be “ambassadors for Christ” in their business and personal lives.
Tom Monaghan, the former owner of Domino’s Pizza, founded Legatus in 1987.