Catholic organizations across the country file suit against contraception mandate
Some of the most influential Catholic institutions in the country filed suit against the Obama administration Monday over the so-called contraception mandate, in one of the biggest coordinated legal challenges to the rule to date.
Claiming their "fundamental rights hang in the balance," a total of 43 plaintiffs filed a dozen separate federal lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the requirement. Among the organizations filing were the University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York and The Catholic University of America.
The groups are objecting to the requirement from the federal health care overhaul that employers provide access to contraceptive care. The Obama administration several months ago softened its position on the mandate, but some religious organizations complained the administration did not go far enough to ensure the rule would not compel them to violate their religious beliefs.
A statement from the University of Notre Dame said the requirement would still call on religious-affiliated groups to "facilitate" coverage "for services that violate the teachings of the Catholic Church."
"The federal mandate requires Notre Dame and similar religious organizations to provide in their insurance plans abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization procedures, which are contrary to Catholic teaching," the statement said.
Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, said in a message to the campus that the filing "is about the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission, and its significance goes well beyond any debate about contraceptives."