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Catholic leaders file lawsuits against Obama health mandate

Catholic leaders in the United States yesterday filed lawsuits in federal court on behalf of dioceses, schools and health care agencies opposing the Obama administration’s mandate that religious employers provide workers birth control and other coverage which violates their religious beliefs.

``We have tried negotiation with the administration and legislation with the Congress, and we'll keep at it, but there's still no fix,'' said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York and President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. ``Time is running out, and our valuable ministries and fundamental rights hang in the balance, so we have to resort to the courts now.''

The bishops are also planning a national campaign for religious freedom in the two weeks leading up to the July Fourth Independence Day holiday.

“What you are seeing is the greatest assault to religious liberty you have ever seen,” said Emily Hardman, the Communications Director for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty had previously filed four other federal lawsuits challenging the mandate on behalf of religious schools and others.

“The government shouldn’t be able to force religious institutions to violate their faith or pay a severe fine,” she told Vatican Radio.

Listen to interview by Charles Collins with Emily Hardman: RealAudioMP3