Diocese of Pittsburgh bishop Zubik 'disappointed' in Affordable Care Act lawsuit dismissal

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Bishop David Zubik responded today to a judge's decision issued late Tuesday that dismissed the Diocese of Pittsburgh's lawsuit challenging federal mandates stemming from the Affordable Care Act.

"While I am disappointed in the ruling that our lawsuit cannot proceed at this time based on the very narrow argument that we allegedly have no real damages yet from the Health and Human Services mandate, I am very encouraged that it was 'dismissed without prejudice,'" the bishop wrote. "That means that we have every right to file again in the future.

"We will now await in good faith the accommodation to religious freedom that the federal government has claimed it will offer. However, we must all be aware that no modification to the original [federal] mandate in regard to religious freedom has yet been made."

The Roman Catholic diocese challenged parts of the preventive health coverage because of concerns that Catholic agencies would be required to cover contraceptives, sterilizations and morning-after drugs.

U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry on Tuesday found that the diocese had not been harmed by the 2010 health insurance reform law, and that the federal departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury were taking "clear and concrete steps" to change the way the act's requirement of insurance coverage for contraception applies to religious institutions.

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Rich Lord: rlord@post-gazette.com, 412-263-1542 and on Twitter: @richelord. Ann Rodgers contributed. First Published November 28, 2012 1:00 AM


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