Saturday, September 21, 2013

Collegium Thomae Aquinatis

   As you know, the College has been deliberating for some time about taking legal action against the HHS contraceptive mandate.  Up to this point in time, many lawsuits have been dismissed for lack of “ripeness” or timeliness.  Now that the administration has finalized the wording of the mandate, the time has come for the College to initiate legal action.

Accordingly, on behalf of Thomas Aquinas College and its co-plaintiffs the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, The Catholic University of America, and others, the Washington, D.C., office of the Jones Day law firm today filed a complaint in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia against the U. S. government.

The complaint alleges that the government’s HHS contraceptive mandate of the Affordable Care Act violates our rights under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and the First Amendment of the U. S. Constitution by substantially burdening our free exercise of religion without a compelling governmental interest.

It further alleges that the HHS contraceptive mandate violates the Administrative Procedures Act by unlawfully requiring employers such as Thomas Aquinas College with religiously motivated objections to provide coverage for abortion-producing products, sterilization, contraception, and related education.

The lawsuit seeks a permanent injunction against enforcement of the HHS contraceptive mandate on the College and all those filing suit.  It also seeks an order vacating the mandate itself.

It is important for a Catholic educational institution such as Thomas Aquinas College to bear witness to its Catholic character by challenging measures which create a conflict between its duty to obey the civil law and its duty to remain faithful to Catholic teaching.

It is also important for Thomas Aquinas College to work to overturn measures which seriously threaten its financial stability.

For these reasons, I believe it is incumbent upon the College to oppose, by any legal means possible, a government regulation which aims, by imposing substantial financial penalties, to compel us to cooperate in providing insurance coverage for medications and procedures which are contrary to Catholic moral teaching, such as contraception, abortion, and voluntary sterilization.

Rather than file a suit on our own in the Ninth Circuit, and after consultation with Archbishop Gomez, our Board of Governors, and the faculty, we have made a prudential judgment to join the suit being filed in the D.C. district court.  We are very pleased that the other parties have welcomed our participation.

I ask now for your prayers that our efforts might be successful.

Thank you.


Michael F. McLean, Ph.D.

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