ST. LOUIS (CN) - The St. Louis Archdiocese and Catholic Charities can't sue the Obama administration for its "Obamacare" contraceptive and reproductive services insurance mandate because the issue isn't ripe yet, a federal judge ruled.
The lawsuit, filed in May, was similar to dozens of complaints filed throughout the country.
All the plaintiffs claimed the mandate violated their religious freedom by making them provide employees with health care services that violate the business owners' religious beliefs.
U.S. District Judge John A. Ross ruled Tuesday that the archdiocese's lawsuit was premature, because the government intends to make changes to the law, and religious groups and others have until August to comply.
"Defendants argue plaintiffs' challenge is not ripe because the preventive services coverage regulations are in the process of being amended, and therefore not final for purposes of ripeness. (Doc. No. 17, pp. 15, 17)," Ross wrote. "This court agrees. Because the regulations are in the process of being amended, in their current form they represent a tentative as opposed to final agency position."
Ross's ruling is in line with other district courts and the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.
The St. Louis Archdiocese said in a statement that the ruling "demonstrates the government's ill-conceived issuance of regulations before they are final."
"We maintain that no citizen should be forced to pay for or provide products or services they find morally objectionable including sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs," the archdiocese said.Follow @@joeharris_stl
Subscribe to Closing Arguments
Sign up for new weekly newsletter Closing Arguments to get the latest about ongoing trials, major litigation and hot cases and rulings in courthouses around the U.S. and the world.