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Catholic bishops launch contraception push

June 21, 2012 at 1:25 PM   |   Comments

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BALTIMORE, June 21 (UPI) -- Catholic bishops in the United States have declared a "Fortnight for Freedom" to press their case against the Obama administration's birth-control mandate.

Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, head of the bishops' committee on religious liberty, will launch the fortnight Thursday evening with a mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption in Baltimore, Catholic Culture reported.

The two-week period was chosen to run from Friday, June 22, feast day of two saints, Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher, who were martyred under Henry VIII for refusing to acknowledge the king as head of the Church of England, to Independence Day, July 4.

President Obama's healthcare plan requires that religious schools, colleges and similar institutions provide insurance that includes contraception coverage for those who want it, though a compromise requires insurance companies to pay for the coverage, not religious employers. The mandate does not apply to employees working directly for churches.

About half of the 195 dioceses in the country have planned to participate, USA Today reported. Events include meetings, and prayer breakfasts.

The fortnight is scheduled to conclude with a mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington. Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, known as an outspoken conservative and traditionalist, is to give the homily.

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