Catholic institutions challenge contraception mandate in court

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More than 40 U.S. Catholic institutions have filed 12 lawsuits challenging the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employers cover contraceptive services in their health plans.

Plaintiffs in the suits, which include the University of Notre Dame, the Archdiocese of Washington, and Catholic University, say the “contraception mandate” violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The rule could affect up to 500 Catholic nursing homes.

Earlier this year, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Affordable Care Act would require employer health plans to pay for contraceptive services without a copay, co-insurance, or a deductible. The Obama administration later softened this decision by saying it was up to the insurer to provide contraception.

However, according to the Archbishops, this accommodation “is overly narrow and would require overreaching by the government to determine if a particular institution satisfied the law's definition of “religious employer.”

Click here to read the Archbishops' complaint.

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