Catholic dioceses sue over federal birth control mandate


The U.S. Affordable Health Care Act passed a reform requiring all emergency contraception and birth control pills to be free of co-payments or other deductibles as of August 1, 2011. The Obama administration confirmed that ruling today.


Kevork Djansezian

Forty-three Roman Catholic dioceses, schools, social service agencies and other organizations filed lawsuits in 12 federal courts today, asking judges to release them from the obligation to cover contraception in their health care plans, the New York Times reported.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law in 2010, requires that all health plans cover birth control, Bloomberg News reported. However, the Catholic institutions’ law firm Jones Day explained in a statement today, the rule “requires religious organizations to provide, pay for, and/or facilitate insurance coverage for services that violate their religious beliefs.”

In February, President Barack Obama offered a compromise that requires health insurance companies, rather than religious-affiliated groups, to pay for employees’ contraceptives, Bloomberg News reported.

However, the nation’s Catholic bishops argue his tweaking of the law did not solve the problem in that Catholic organizations are still compelled to go against their beliefs and provide birth control, the New York Times reported.

More from GlobalPost: Catholic bishops still oppose Obama birth control rule, despite change

Lawsuits were filed in the District of Columbia, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Mississippi, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Missouri, Bloomberg News reported. The University of Notre Dame, Catholic University and the Archdioceses of New York, Washington, DC, and St. Louis are among the institutions filing suit, according to the New York Times.

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