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Archdiocese Of New York, Other Catholic Institutions Sue Obama Over Birth Control Mandate

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The Catholic Church is taking the Barack Obama administration to court, suing over the controversial birth control mandate that is part of the president's health care plan.

On Monday, CBS 2's Chris Wragge got reaction from Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is among those leading the charge.

The legal salvos have been fired by Catholic institutions across the country. Dolan, the Archbishop of the New York Archdiocese and President of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, said the plan to force most employers to provide birth control coverage is just not acceptable.

"This is not a fight of our making," Dolan said.

WCBS 880's Rich Lamb On The Story


Dolan said the Church will continue to negotiate with the White House and work with Congress to resolve their differences on the hot-button issue, but added legal action simply has to be on the table.

"So we knew that probably sooner or later we might have to go to the courts. [We] didn't want to. [We] were hoping to avoid it."

The lawsuits are the biggest push against the mandate since it was announced by President Obama in January, but requiring Catholic institutions like hospitals and colleges to provide birth control coverage caused a furor. Obama then softened the rule so that insurers would pay for birth control, but Dolan told the president that wasn't acceptable.

"We have been mindful that there is another principle at stake here and it is the principle of religious liberty, an inalienable right that is enshrined in our constitution," Obama said.

"That's not gonna work because guess what? Most of us at least in the Catholic family are self insured, so we're gonna end up still paying for it and it's not gonna help," Dolan said.

Dolan has admitted to feeling disappointed by the president after the two met in November, when the cardinal said the president led him to believe he would get what most of what he wanted on the contraception issue.

"I'm honest. I say I feel a little let down," Dolan said at the time.

However, Dolan said despite working on other fronts to resolve the standoff, he believes if the matter is heard in court, the Church will have the upper hand.

"I'm hoping that we will get some judicial relief and that the freedom of religion, which is listed as the first of our freedoms in our beloved constitution, will trump this. I'm rather confident that it will and so are the scholars and the professionals here," Dolan said.

A spokesperson for the Health and Human Services Department said the department could not comment on pending litigation.

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