Notre Dame sues Obama administration over birth control mandate

On Monday, the University of Notre Dame joined six other Protestant and Catholic colleges in suing the Obama administration over its rule that all employers must offer contraception without a copay in their insurance plans.

Obama gave the commencement address at the prominent Catholic university in 2009.

In its suit, the school says that health care reform's contraception mandate violates its religious freedom and would require it to go against Catholic principles by offering contraception and sterilization to students and faculty in its insurance plan. The university serves 11,500 students of different religious faiths, and has always been led by a Catholic priest as president.

The Obama administration announced in February that religious organizations such as schools and hospitals would not have to offer birth control to its employees. Instead, the insurance company would contact women covered by its plan and offer the contraception. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other religious organizations objected to this, saying that the organizations' premiums would still be helping to pay for the contraception in that scenario. In its suit, the University of Notre Dame says it is self-insured, which means this accommodation would not work for them.

A Department of Health and Human Services spokeswoman told Yahoo News that she couldn't comment on pending litigation, but that the department is still forming its contraception rule for self-insured religious schools.

Employers' insurance plans will have to offer birth control starting this August, but religious organizations will have another year before they must, too. Churches are exempt from the rule.

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