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Bishops sue New York State to stop mandated birth control insurance

The eight Catholic bishops of New York state filed a lawsuit against the state on Monday to overturn a new law that requires employers to offer health insurance that covers birth control for women. The bishops contend that the law forces the Catholic Church to endorse immoral and sinful practices. "Such an outrageous law ought to alarm anyone who loves America and the freedoms for which it stands," the eight bishops said in a statement. "We cannot let this unprecedented intrusion on our religious rights go unchallenged."

The law, which takes effect tomorrow, requires that worker health insurance provide coverage for birth control and other women's health services, such as mammograms. Supporters of the law said they believe the law will stand up in court.

The bishops had requested an exemption for the contraception mandate from the New York Legislature, but while the Republican-led Senate seemed initially receptive to the idea, it later capitulated to pro-abortion groups and agreed to the Democratic-led Assembly's harsher version of the bill.

Under the version approved, the state exempts employers only if their primary function is religious, most of the people they serve share that religion, and most of the people they employ also share that religion. As a result, the exemption does not apply to Catholic hospitals or schools.

NYTimes "Bishops sue State to block coverage for Birth Control"

2 Jan 2003