Archdiocese of Washington Presents Oral Arguments before U.S. Court of Appeals to Protect and Preserve Religious Freedom

Thursday, May 8, 2014

WASHINGTON – The Archdiocese of Washington and its co-plaintiffs today presented oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in their legal challenge to the HHS mandate.

The archdiocese argued in its written briefs and oral arguments that the HHS mandate violates the U.S. Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by wrongfully forcing the challengers and other employers to take action to facilitate or otherwise cooperate with the delivery of morally impermissible products and services, contrary to their fundamental religious liberties.

On Dec. 31, 2013, the Court of Appeals granted an injunction, which has prevented the government from enforcing the HHS mandate against the archdiocese and its co-plaintiffs while this appeal is pending. The archdiocese and its affiliates have thus not yet been forced to choose between, on the one hand, suffering crippling penalties for following their faith or, on the other, violating their religious beliefs by facilitating the provision of abortion-inducing drugs, sterilizations and contraceptives to their employees.

The archdiocese and its co-plaintiffs are hopeful that the final disposition of this case will support religious freedom and rights of conscience.

The lawsuit brought by the archdiocese and its co-plaintiffs, Roman Catholic Archbishop of Washington, et al. v. Kathleen Sebelius, et al., D.C. Cir. case no. 14-5021, has been consolidated by the court with Priests for Life, et al. v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. For more information, please visit


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