May 21, 2012
For more information contact: 

Archbishop calls HHS Mandate a violation of our most-cherished freedom

St. Louis, MO — The Archdiocese of St. Louis and Catholic Charities of St. Louis are taking legal action against the federal government of the United States of America. During a press conference today, Archbishop Robert J. Carlson announced that a lawsuit challenging the legality of the HHS mandate was filed in court this morning.

Archbishop Carlson stated that the Church “had pursued every other imaginable option to correct this problem,” and added that, “Right now the future is unclear, and any scenario that forces us to violate our moral convictions is unacceptable. At the same time, any sce- nario that forces our St. Louis area hospitals, schools, and charities to close would be dev- astating to the many people employed and served by these institutions.”

The mandate, with its extreme requirements on sterilization, contraceptives, and abortion- inducing drugs, will begin taking effect in August of this year. An “exception” for “religious employers” was offered by the Obama administration, but the federal definition of reli- gious employer only includes Catholic organizations that serve primarily Catholics, which fails to protect the religious liberties of Catholic organizations that serve non-Catholics, such as local Catholic hospitals, universities, and Catholic Charities of St. Louis.

“We help people because we are Catholic, not because they are,” Archbishop Carlson said. This is the first time in history that the U.S. government has forced the Catholic Church to

provide a product that violates Catholic beliefs.

Archbishop Carlson made clear that the lawsuit filed today is not about contraceptives. He said it is about freedom to practice religion. “[Religious liberty] is our first, most-cherished freedom and it requires constant vigilance and protection or it will be lost.” He added, “As a shepherd, I cannot remain silent while the right of Catholics to practice our faith is eroded!”

For more information, visit our website at