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Saturday, Feb. 24
The Indiana Daily Student

politics

Health care law prompts Notre Dame lawsuit

The United States Department of Health and Human Services is requiring some religious organizations, such as universities, to administer sterilization procedures and drugs through their health plans or a third-party administrator.

The University of Notre Dame, along with other religious institutions, said such procedures and drugs could induce abortions. Notre Dame filed its second lawsuit Tuesday against the U.S. government mandate, part of the Affordable Care Act.

The mandate requires Notre Dame to pay for and give access to products, services and practices which conflict with its Catholic mission.

As an institution, Notre Dame doesn’t support practices that conflict with Catholic doctrine such as abortion and the use of contraception.

The university filed its first lawsuit May 21, 2012, claiming the mandate violated its religious freedom.

“Our abiding concern in both the original filing of May 21, 2012, and this re-filing has been Notre Dame’s freedom — and indeed the freedom of many religious organizations in this country — to live out a religious mission,” Rev. John Jenkins, Notre Dame’s president, said in a press release. “We have sought neither to prevent women from having access to services, nor even to prevent the government from providing them.”

For more than a year, Notre Dame and government administration officials have been in contact with one another, trying to resolve the matter.

According to the complaint, Norte Dame’s lawsuit is not trying to impose its religious beliefs on others but is acting within its religious beliefs by exercising its freedom of religion.

“As I said regarding our original filing, because at its core this filing is about the freedom of a religious organization to live its mission, its significance goes well beyond any debate about contraceptive services,” Jenkins said in a press release. “For if we concede that the government can decide which religious organizations are sufficiently religious to be awarded the freedom to follow the principles that define their mission, then we have begun to walk down a path that ultimately will undermine those
institutions.”

Alli Friedman

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