Forty Catholic Groups Sue over Birth Control Rules

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Several Catholic groups are suing over the Obama administration over its requirements that employers provide contraception and abortion services as part of health coverage for employees.

The Department of Health and Human Services issued the new rules in January. They require nearly all health care plans to cover sterilizations and contraceptives approved by the FDA, including those that cause abortions.

But the University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of New York, the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and 40 other Catholic dioceses and organizations say the mandates violate their religious liberties.

"We are in deep solidarity in our conviction that the government is not authorized to force us to violate our consciences by making us provide, pay for, and/or facilitate services that are contrary to our religious beliefs," Bishop Kevin Rhoades, with Ft. Wayne-South Bend Diocese, said.

The Catholic groups are filing 12 different law suits in federal courts.

"Let me say very clearly what this lawsuit is not about," Rev. John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame, said in an email to university employees Monday. "It is not about preventing women from having access to contraception, nor even about preventing the government from providing such services."

"We do not seek to impose our religious beliefs on others," Jenkins wrote. "We simply ask that the government not impose its values on the university when those values conflict with our religious teachings."

Meanwhile, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is spearheading the lawsuit, is vowing to continue the fight until the Obama administration sees reason.

"We have tried negotiation with the administration and legislation with the Congress," he said. "And we'll keep at it -- but there's still no fix."

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