In the News 2016

Erie Catholic Dioceses Takes Religious Freedom Argument To Supreme Court

A big case hit the Supreme Court Wednesday, and church groups from the Erie area, played a major part in the case.

Erie News Now Washington Correspondent Kellie Meyer found out, there was action both in and out of the courtroom.

The Diocese of Erie joined people from all over the country, to fight inside the Supreme Court against Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate, but not all outside the steps were on their side.

Two sides.
One major case.
Chanting from both sides.

In a big week for both Catholics and Affordable Care Act supporters, Obamacare’s contraception mandate was in the justice’s hands inside Supreme Court walls.

Also inside, Bishop Lawrence Persico, “It was a historic moment, not only for the diocese but the church in this country,” said Bishop Persico.

He joined the Diocese of Erie as petitioners in the case of Zubik v. Burwell, challenging a process for opting out of the ACA’s contraception mandate.

They believe it is a violation of their religious beliefs, “You know the government right now, the government is looking at dividing the church, between a place of worship and as well as it’s good works. We see you can’t make that distinction,” said Bishop Persico.

Outside, other groups like Catholics for Choice, say the bishops don’t speak for every Catholic.

“99% of sexually active Catholic women have used a form of Birth Control that is banned by the Vatican, 63% of Catholics believe that birth control should be covered in insurance plans whether public or private,” said Sarah Ratcliffe with Catholics for Choice.

Ratcliffe says the religious leaders are trying to interfere with public policy.

She joined the dozens of others who were holding signs and chanting for their right to chose.

Bishop Persico says they’re free to express their opinion, but he needs to express his, “That’s what we’re ultimately looking at is our religious liberty to practice it the way we feel we have a right to,” said Bishop Persico.

Although there is no final decision just yet, the Bishop says he will return to Erie confident that his side was heard inside the Supreme Court Wednesday.

This article originally appeared in Erie News Now.

Catholics for Choice