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Notre Dame sues about birth-control mandate

SOUTH BEND – The University of Notre Dame is suing the Obama administration about a federal mandate that its health insurance plans for students and employees cover birth control.

The university filed its lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in South Bend. It claims the mandate violates Notre Dame's freedom to practice religion without government interference.

The Roman Catholic university says the birth-control mandate violates the church's teaching prohibiting contraception.

In a statement, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades of the Fort Wayne-South Bend Roman Catholic Diocese said: "I am happy that Notre Dame remains in strong solidarity with the diocese and U.S. bishops in defending our religious liberty. I hope and pray that we are successful in our lawsuits opposing this government intrusion into our mission to serve the common good according to our teachings."

Rep. Jackie Walorksi, R-2nd, whose district includes Notre Dame, said in a statement, "The enforcement of certain provisions in Obamacare is a direct violation of the university’s constitutional right to religious freedom and must be stopped."

The Obama administration promotes the law's provision of a range of preventive care, free of charge, as a key benefit of the health care overhaul. Contraception is included in the package of cost-free benefits

The U.S. Supreme Court recently agreed to consider two cases in which business have objected to covering birth control for employees on religious grounds.

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