Mother Angelica’s cable television network has filed suit over the Obama administration’s new rule requiring it and some other religious-affiliated endeavors to provide employees with health insurance coverage that includes free birth control.
The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty filed the suit Wednesday in U.S. District Court on behalf of the Catholic nun’s Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN)
“We had no other option but to take this to the courts,” said EWTN President and CEO Michael Warsaw. “There is no question that this mandate violates our First Amendment rights.”
The new rule, part of the Obama healthcare law, requires religious-affiliated institutions to provide its employees with insurance that covers contraceptive services and sterilization. The Catholic Church and other religious groups say this is forcing them to pay for something their faith considers a sin.
Republican leaders, as well as some Democrats and members of other religious denominations, also insist that the rule violates religious freedom.
The suit names the Health and Human Services Department, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and other government agencies.
“Under the HHS mandate, EWTN is being forced by the government to make a choice,” Warsaw said. “Either we provide employees coverage for contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs and violate our conscience or offer our employees and their families no health insurance coverage at all. Neither of those choices is acceptable.”
Mother Angelica, a member of the Poor Clares order, founded EWTN in 1981. She hosted her teaching shows on the network until she had a stroke in 2001. Now 88, she lives retired at a convent in Alabama.
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