Judge dismisses Belmont Abbey lawsuit - proves Fortnight for Freedom is a farce
The Catholic News Service reports that the Federal District Court for the District of Columbia has dismissed a lawsuit brought against the Department of Health and Human Services to stop the draft rule requiring that contraceptive coverage be covered with no copayment. The reason for the dismissal is because the suit was not ripe because no final rule had been issued.
The final rule is not to be issued until 2013, and until it is, no lawsuit is appropriate. Indeed, not only is the comment period still open, but the Church and its various bodies have been commenting. Anyone who has taken basic Administrative Law could tell you this was coming. Oddly enough, one of the complaints in the suit was a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. Perhaps the Church's legal counsel should have bothered to read the Act concerning ripeness for suit, as well as the rules for civil procedure.
Given that the lawsuit went forward anyway, one has to conclude that there was much more to these lawsuits than stopping the mandate or defending the rights of the Church. That can happen next year. The only possible reason was as part of the Church's well choreographed Fortnight for Freedom, which was a two week exercise in episcopal fidelity concluding on Independence Day. The fact that the only reason to do this before the final rule was issued is the pending election should be lost on no one.
If this publicity stunt was an attempt to energize Catholic Democrats to support the bishops and vote against the President, telling the truth about it should have the opposite effect.
Also in the current Arlington Catholic Herald is a piece by Fr. Tad Pacholczyk, who is a neuroscientist who writes on bioethics, on the embryo that grew up. The other major writer in the Church's quiver is a caridologist. While both of these researchers can say a lot about end of life care, it would be better if they stayed out of embryology. An embryologist could tell them that prior to gastrulation, a growing blastocyst can have a non-human parent but will develop in exactly the same way and that during this stage of development, only the maternal DNA controls the process - which indicates that there is no soul in charge except that of the mother. DNA from both parents only kick in once gastrulation occurs. If the spiritual law that the physical reflects the spiritual is still part of Catholic teaching (see Aquinas), then ensoulment cannot have occured prior to gastrulation, so birth control cannot be abortive. If that is the case, then the only concern the bishops should have about paying for employee birth control is their personal sexual ethics. I, for one, think such a concern is a bit creepy for any employer to have, even the Church.