EWTN sues over HHS rule on contraception

Feb. 9, 2012 at 6:41 PM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Catholic media network EWTN has gone to federal court, challenging the Obama administration's rule mandating contraception coverage at religious institutions.

"We had no other option but to take this to the courts," EWTN President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Warsaw said when announcing the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court Wednesday. "There is no question that this mandate violates our First Amendment rights."

The Health and Human Services Department has issued an interim rule mandating health insurance plans for employees of Catholic hospitals and other religiously affiliated institutions include coverage for birth control, sterilization and other preventive services.

"Under the HHS mandate, EWTN is being forced by the government to make a choice. Either we provide employees coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs and violate our conscience, or offer our employees and their families no health insurance coverage at all. Neither of those choices is acceptable," Warsaw said.

Senate Majority Harry Reid Thursday blocked a measure by Republicans to add an amendment to the highway funding bill that would have provided conscience protections for healthcare providers, calling it "premature."

"This is a rule that hasn't even been made final yet. There's no final rule," the Nevada Democrat said. "Let's wait until there is at least a rule that we can talk about."

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