All of the plaintiffs are represented by the law firm Jones Day. They include the dioceses of Dallas, Fort Worth, Rockville Centre on Long Island and Pittsburgh, all seven dioceses in the Michigan Catholic Conference, Franciscan University in Ohio and the publication Our Sunday Visitor.
A White House spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuits filed Monday, instead providing comments made by Mr. Obama when he announced the extra exemption in February.
“The result will be that religious organizations won’t have to pay for these services, and no religious institution will have to provide these services directly,” Mr. Obama said at the time. “Let me repeat: These employers will not have to pay for, or provide, contraceptive services.”
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius doubled down on the administration’s stance last week, delivering an address at Georgetown University, a Catholic school, where she praised the health law but acknowledged the ongoing disputes.
“But it’s through this process of conversation and compromise that we move forward, together, step by step, towards a more perfect union,” she told the students.
While Catholics have generally led the fight against the rule, they’ve attracted the support of many evangelical leaders who are opposed to the “ella” and Plan B contraceptives, which they claim are also abortion-inducing drugs, and agree with Catholics that the rule treads on religious freedom.
“We are all Catholic now,” said Penney Nance, president of Concerned Women for America. “This is why the religious community stands together in the belief that this contraception, chemical abortion and sterilization mandate would force us to pay for something many of us believe is morally repugnant.”
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