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Monday, May 21, 2012

Ind. Courts - Notre Dame sues feds over requirement to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives [Updated]

Margaret Fosmoe of the South Bend Tribune has the story this afternoon. The long story begins:

SOUTH BEND — The University of Notre Dame, the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and several other area organizations filed suit Monday challenging the constitutionality of a federal regulation that requires religious organizations to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives and other services that go against Catholic Church teachings.

Filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana, the lawsuit names as defendants U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and their respective departments.

Other groups joining in the legal action are Catholic Charities of the diocese, Saint Anne Home and Retirement Community, Franciscan Alliance, the University of Saint Francis and Our Sunday Visitor.

Announced in January, the federal mandate would require Notre Dame, Catholic dioceses and many other religious colleges, hospitals and other organizations to provide in their insurance plans abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives and sterilization procedures, which are contrary to Catholic teaching, university administrators said in a written announcement. The mandate also authorizes the government to determine which organizations are sufficiently “religious” to warrant an exemption from the requirement, they said.

The lawsuit charges that these components of the regulation are a violation of religious liberties guaranteed by the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other federal laws.
The Tribune has also posted a copy of the 57-page complaint, as well as the statements of ND President Jenkins and of Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades.

[Updated at 5:20 PM] It seems this is not the only suit. According to The Volokh Conspiracy, "In all twelve lawsuits were filed in twelve separate federal district courts. There are 43 separate plaintiffs in these suits, including the Archdioceses of Washington, D.C. and New York, Catholic University, and the University of Notre Dame."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on May 21, 2012 04:14 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts