A Christian organization called Priests for Life sued the Obama administration, saying its mandate that insurance providers cover birth control violates the organization’s religious and free-speech rights.
In a lawsuit filed on Wednesday in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y., Priests for Life also objected to the requirement that employers provide coverage for sterilization and related education, and to the penalties for not complying. They said the mandate violates the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. The group wants the court to prohibit enforcement of the rules under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which President Barack Obama signed into law in 2010.
The mandate “violates the freedom of all people of faith, and even those of no faith, who have a conscientious objection to contraception, sterilization or abortion,” the Staten Island, N.Y.-based group said in its complaint.
Last week, Obama offered a compromise that would force health insurers, and not religious-affiliated charities, to pay for contraceptives for employees of those institutions. Republican lawmakers have vowed to push for a measure in Congress to repeal the policy, a vote that could come as early as this week.
Erin Shields, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, declined to comment on the litigation.
The case is Priests for Life v. Sebelius, 12-cv-753, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
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