By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Archdiocese of Philadelphia has filed a federal lawsuit challenging the new federal mandate that some of its affiliates allow their employees to get contraceptive coverage in their health insurance.

After much fine tuning, federal health officials created an “accommodation” for religious groups that would allow their employees to receive the birth control benefit in the Affordable Care Act without forcing the groups themselves to provide it.

They must send a notice to a third party saying they oppose providing contraceptives, and the third party then provides the coverage.

The archdiocese says it still feels its religious rights are being violated and has asked the court to eliminate the benefit.

But managing attorney Terry Fromson of the Philadelphia-based Women’s Law Project doesn’t believe the archdiocese has much of a case.

“This simple provision of notice in no way amounts to a substantial burden on the archdiocese,” she says.

Fromson notes that contraceptives have not only improved women’s health but also their economic equality.

“The contraceptive rule advances a compelling government interest.  It significantly advances women’s equality,” she said today.


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