Catholics: Abortion Coverage Mandate Violates Conscience

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Churches and other religious organizations are pushing back against President Barack Obama's new health insurance policy mandate for birth control.

The measure would require religious employers to cover contraception and abortion as part of preventive care.

Many religious groups say the rule forces them to go against their convictions.

Now, a movement is underway to repeal the law -- especially among Catholic leaders.

"We believe it is a violation of the first fundamental right: freedom of religion," Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Robert Tayek said.

The new requirement includes coverage of emergency contraception like Plan B, a drug many conservatives call the abortion pill.

"It's the first time the federal government ever put out a mandate that asks people to violate their conscience," Tayek said.

"Where does it end?" Ohio resident and Catholic Joanne Gibbon asked. "If you cross the line and allow a little bit, I mean where does it end?"

Florida GOP Sen. Marco Rubio, who said the law violates religous liberties, is sponsoring a bill to repeal the mandate.

"This is a common sense bill that simply says the government can't force religious organizations to abandon the fundamental tenets of their faith," Rubio said in a statement.

"The Obama administration needs to be really careful with taking such extreme positions that marginalize religious freedoms," Hannah Smith, legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, added.

Smith is leading a lawsuit against the Obama administration on behalf of a Belmont Abbey College.

"We are challenging the mandate on several grounds, constitutional grounds," she explained.

"Also a federal rights statute called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which prohibits the federal government from imposing a substantial burden on religious groups," she said.

The government claims the mandate will provide greater access to birth control, which will in turn reduce unwanted pregnancies and abortions.

But church leaders disagree. They call the law simply discrimination.

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