On Friday, Aug. 16, in Fort Worth, the University of Dallas filed a motion to join a federal lawsuit pending in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and related parties. In taking legal action, the university is asking the court to define it as a "religious employer," and, as such, would be exempt from the Affordable Care Act mandate that requires employers to provide health insurance that includes coverage of sterilization, contraception and abortifacients.
"The University of Dallas is a Catholic institution that faithfully follows the teachings of the church. The Department of Health and Human Services' mandate will require employee health insurance to include coverage of contraceptives, which will put the university in the untenable position of either following the law of the land or violating religious beliefs," said President Thomas W. Keefe. "We have delayed legal action as long as possible, hoping for a final ruling that would define the University of Dallas as a 'religious employer' and, as a result, exempt this institution from complying with this mandate. In filing this lawsuit, we are simply asking for relief from the United States District Court that will enable the University of Dallas act in accordance with this law while still professing our fidelity to the Catholic Church.