Congresswoman Eleanor Norton expressed her frustration with a spate of lawsuits from Catholic institutions seeking to overturn an Obama administration rule that requires health plans to offer contraceptive coverage.
The Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., and the University of Notre Dame filed separate lawsuits arguing they should be exempt due to respect for religious freedom. In February, under pressure from religious groups, the Obama administration provided an exemption to the rule for those organizations that primarily serve and employ members of their faith. These groups say it's not enough.
Norton, who represents the District of Columbia as a non-voting member of Congress, called the lawsuits “unnecessary” during an interview with Thomas Roberts on msnbc.
“The administration began by exempting religious institutions – churches and the like. This comes down to hospitals, universities like Notre Dame who are affiliated with religious institutions but have to obey federal law,” she said. “Understand these institutions, these universities, hospitals, are heavily subsidized by the federal government. They hold themselves out to the general public and they must hire all people regardless of race or religion. The courts have been clear – that as long as the mandate does not discriminate against the employer, even if it intrudes on the employer’s religion, then the employer must obey.”