Bishop David Zubik responded Wednesday 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 coming preventive health coverage mandate because of concerns that it would have to cover contraceptives, sterilizations and morning-after drugs for its employees.
U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry found that the diocese had not been harmed by the rules, which don't take effect until 2014, and that federal departments were taking "clear and concrete steps" to change the way the act's requirement of insurance coverage for contraception will apply to religious institutions.