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May 22nd, 2012
12:44 PM ET

Catholic universities file lawsuits against the Obama administration

The battle over contraceptive access has been an ongoing conversation for the better part of 2012, with many arguing that the president's health care law infringes on religious rights laid out by the first amendment of the Constitution.

Under the original wording of the Affordable Care Act, all employers would be required to provide contraceptives free-of-copay to their employees.

In a revisionary statement issued last February, President Obama exempted religious hospitals and schools from directly providing birth control to their employees and instead designated that responsibility to insurance companies.

For the University of Notre Dame and 42 other Catholic institutions, that revision is not enough, and they've decided to sue the Obama administration.

Notre Dame Law Professor Carter Snead says it "seems unnecessary" for the the Affordable Care Act to involve the Catholic Church on Starting Point this morning.

"If the government wanted to provide maximum access to these kinds of drugs, there are ways to do it without conscripting us into the process," Snead argues.

On the other side of the aisle, Catholics United member Samantha Groark says that she thinks the lawsuit "does a great disservice to the religious identity of the church."

Less emphasis, she says, is currently placed on what she considers to be primary issues concerning the Catholic faith: "helping the poor, welcoming the immigrant other, and ending US sponsored torture in prison camps."

Instead, Groark stresses, a lot of "time, resources and energy is being funneled into these partisan, political issues."

Filed under: Contraception • Health care • Law • Religion
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