The Diocese of Fargo and other Catholic employers in North Dakota filed a federal lawsuit opposing federal health care providers' requirements that include abortion and gender-changing surgeries.
The lawsuit challenged federal rules that require Catholic hospital and health care providers to perform gender transitioning procedures and abortions contrary to their own medical judgment and catholic values.
The diocese and the Catholic Benefits Association believe the coverage requirements for Catholic dioceses, religious orders, and other Catholic employers also conflict with the Catholic faith.
"By redefining 'sex' to mean both 'gender identity' and 'termination of pregnancy,' the Obama administration is not only trying to sidestep Congress and impose radical new health care mandates on hospitals and employers, it is creating a moral problem for Catholic employers that must be addressed," said Archbishop William Lori.
In a statement, Bishop John Folda said the Catholic Church does not discriminate based on orientation, but it should have the freedom to make faith-based coverage decisions.
"While initiating a lawsuit is not something we take lightly, this new mandate represents a grave threat to religious freedom," Bishop Folda said.
The association said Pope Francis has reiterated that Catholic teachings oppose abortion and theories that gender is alterable.
The federal rules the lawsuit challenges were issued earlier this year by the Department of Health and Human Services.