The New York Archdiocese is among several groups joining a lawsuit against a mandate to require religious organizations to provide birth control to their employees. Opponents of the mandate argue that it infringes on religious freedoms, while those in favor say it would be beneficial to the health of women and children. YNN's Courtney Gross has the latest from Manhattan.
NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. -- It's the state…
"People of good will on both sides of the debate have been sorting through some very complicated questions to find a solution that works for everyone. Today's announcement, we have done that," said President Barak Obama.
…Versus the church.
"Are we going to have to give up our soup kitchens, our day care centers, our inner city schools, our health care centers, because we are going to be required by the federal government to do something that we find morally repugnant?" asked Cardinal Timothy Dolan.
That is a new requirement by the Obama administration to require employers provide insurance coverage for contraceptives. Religious institutions would have to meet several criteria to be found exempt.
It's a sensitive subject for Catholic institutions, so the Archdiocese of New York filed a federal lawsuit in Brooklyn on Monday. And they were joined by religious institutions across the country, like the University of Notre Dame.
The archdiocese argues this religious exemption is too narrow and they would be forced to prove they are sufficiently religious. As a result they argue they would only be serving Catholics instead of the broader population.
"The federal government should not be in the business of qualifying what makes a religious exemption and what does not," said William Donohue of the Catholic League.
Dolan says it’s their hospitals or schools that would be affected.
"If the government mandates something that a particular religion or community finds odious, then they would respect religious freedom," Dolan said.
The White House would not weigh in on the suit specifically, saying it does not comment on pending litigation. But it said these religious institutions would not be forced to pay for birth control, it would be the insurer.
For some activists, the new lawsuit is tantamount to a war on women.
"That they are willing to say no to the 98 percent of Catholic women that use birth control. This is very much out of step with the views from the pews. This is very much out of step with the vast majority of Americans," said Andrea Miller of Naral Pro-Choice New York.
Americans that come November may be weighing this issue on their mind.