Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

State News

December 4, 2013

Notre Dame sues over birth control mandate

(Continued)

The university argues it is not seeking to impose its religious beliefs on others, but it wants to protect its right to the free exercise of its religion.

"We have sought neither to prevent women from having access to services, nor even to prevent the government from providing them," Jenkins said. The lawsuit argues the government could alternatively pay for contraception through the expansion of its existing network of family planning clinics or by creating a broader exemption for religious employers.

Notre Dame filed a similar lawsuit in May 2012; U.S. District Judge Robert Miller Jr. dismissed that case last December saying the university lacked standing because if wasn't facing any imminent penalty or restrictions because the federal government was reworking some of the coverage regulations Notre Dame was seeking to block.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to consider two cases in which businesses have objected to covering birth control for employees on religious grounds. Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned arts and crafts chain with 13,000 full-time employees, won its case in lower courts, while Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Mennonite-owned company that employs 950 people in making wood cabinets, lost its claims in lower courts.

About 40 for-profit companies have requested an exemption from covering some or all forms of contraception.

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