Magazine article Church & State

Bishops' Birth Control Lawsuits Should Fail, Says Americans United

Magazine article Church & State

Bishops' Birth Control Lawsuits Should Fail, Says Americans United

Article excerpt

The Roman Catholic hierarchy has engineered a series of lawsuits asserting that a proposed new federal health-care regulation providing birth control services for all Americans who want them is an infringement on the church's religious freedom.

The assertion is bogus, says Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

In May, 40 Catholic groups joined the legal effort in a slew of lawsuits to attack an Obama administration regulation requiring health insurance companies to provide no-copay birth control to employees who want it. The issue has been simmering for months and has led to a deep rift between Obama and the Catholic bishops.

Houses of worship are exempt from the mandate, but the bishops are trying to deny birth control coverage for employees at Catholic-affiliated institutions such as hospitals and colleges as well. They even want an exemption to cover secular businesses owned by Catholics.

"It's important to expose these lawsuits for what they are: an outrageous assault on safe, effective and affordable birth control," said Americans United Executive Director Barry W. Lynn. "To the bishops, 'religious freedom' means the right to force their dogma on the unwilling."

Lynn pointed out that Catholic colleges, hospitals and social service agencies receive massive amounts of taxpayer support. They serve and hire many non-Catholics, as well as Catholics who choose not to follow the hierarchy's decree against birth control. …

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