The Catholic Diocese of Nashville has filed suit against the Obama Administration in objection to a mandate in the Affordable Health Care Act.
The Diocese of Nashville and several other Catholic entities operating in Middle Tennessee are among the first in the country to challenge parts of the Affordable Care Act in federal court.
Bishop David Choby told Nashville's News 2, “As the Catholic Church, we want some avenue to redress our objection to having the government insert itself into Catholic life.”
The contraception mandate lies at the heart of the church's objection to the law, which requires employers to provide coverage including birth control to its employees.
Bishop Choby says the mandate infringes on the church's freedom of religious expression.
“The Federal Government should not involve itself or interfere with the teaching and practice of its own religious heritage,” he explained.
He criticized language granting exemptions for churches and religious entities, saying they are too narrow.
“The issue of the exemption is so restrictive in terms of the language that it in fact would be the rare organization or institution that would be able to make use of the exemption,” he explained.
Bishop Choby fears that if the mandate stands, the door would be open to other, more extreme mandates in the future.
“The next step would be to require us to fund abortions, to require catholic hospitals to perform abortions, and to fund things like in vitro fertilization,' he said.
Nashville's News 2 also spoke with Planned Parenthood, which supports the Affordable Care Act and the mandate on employers to provide healthcare plans that include birth control.
Steve Emmert with Planned Parenthood told Nashville's News 2, “We feel very strongly when you talk about health care services for women reproductive and preventative, the services must be included.”
Emmert added that the Affordable Care Act provides that for women.