PITTSBURGH (AP) — A federal judge has scheduled a Nov. 12 hearing on the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh’s challenge to looming federal health care reforms requiring contraceptive and abortion coverage in employee health plans.
U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab on Thursday told attorneys for the diocese and the Justice Department that he wants to hear testimony about what happens if the church and its related entities, including Catholic Charities, don’t abide by the mandates.
The Justice Department contends the church, itself, is exempt and that its charitable affiliates can be accommodated so they don’t have to pay for the coverage. But church attorneys argue it would violate their beliefs if the church or its affiliates play even an indirect role in providing such coverage for employees.
Schwab plans to rule before the mandate takes effect Jan. 1.