The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta has joined dozens of other organizations in filing a lawsuit against the federal government. The suit seeks to overturn the so-called birth control mandate in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
In an interview with WABE, Atlanta Archbishop Wilton Gregory said he is aware that the lawsuit comes just weeks before the presidential election. But, he says, he did not choose the timing, adding that he also did not choose the fight.
The Archbishop says he and other Catholic leaders are still willing to negotiate with the Federal government. However, their stance is firm: they do not believe that Catholic institutions, including churches, schools, and hospitals fund employee insurance coverage that provides access to birth control, sterilization, and abortion.
“We’re not saying you cannot have access to those services as a non-Catholic employee,” said Gregory. “That’s not our point. Our point is: don’t make me pay for your access. Find it some other way.”
Jon O’Brien, president of the Washington-based group Catholics for Choice, says the Archdiocese is simply not being fair. “I think what the Bishops are trying to do is to say that their consciences trump the consciences of workers in their institutions,” said O’Brien.”
While Catholics for Choice fights against the church when it comes to reproductive rights, according to O’Brien most Catholics do not consider the issue to be as important as jobs or the economy.
The Diocese of Savannah and Atlanta’s Christ the King School joined the Archdiocese as plaintiffs in the lawsuit.