Nebraska, joined by Republican attorney generals of six other states, filed suit in federal court today challenging the Obama administration's policy requiring most health insurance plans to cover preventive services for women, including contraception and the morning-after pill, without a co-pay.
The states argue the policy forces religious schools, non-profits and employers to violate their religious and faith-based beliefs by providing insurance plans covering services that conflict with those beliefs.
The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court District of Nebraska, argues, "The First Amendment has for centuries, served as a rampart against government interference with religious liberty. "
The Obama administration altered the policy in early February amid fierce criticism from advocates of religious liberty.
The president announced an accommodation that would allow women to obtain free contraception by obtaining it directly from the insurance company if their employers object to it out of religious concerns.
But the attorneys general reject the accommodation. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement, "Any rule, regulation or law that forces faith-based institutions to provide for services that violate their free exercise of religion, or that penalizes them for failing to kneel at the altar of government, is a flat-out violation of the First Amendment."
The states joining Nebraska are Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.
Co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit are two individuals, two nonprofit corporations (Catholic Social Services and the Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America) and Pius X Catholic High School (in Nebraska).