Notre Dame's lawsuit yesterday was just the beginning, because America's Catholic bishops have turned en masse to the courts in an attempt to ensure that employees of Catholic institutions do not have health plans that cover birth control. Some 43 Catholic dioceses, schools, social service agencies, and other institutions filed federal lawsuits yesterday, arguing that the Obama administration requirement for most health insurance policies to cover contraception violates their religious freedom, reports the New York Times. All of the plaintiffs are being represented pro bono by the law firm Jones Day.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops rejected a compromise offered by the Obama administration, under which insurers, not Catholic employers, would have paid for and administered contraception coverage. "We have tried negotiation with the administration and legislation with the Congress, and we'll keep at it, but there's still no fix," the conference's president says. "Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now." (Read more contraception stories.)