The American Civil Liberty Union announced today that President Obama's decision to mandate coverage for birth control does not violate religious liberty.
The ACLU's Alicia Gay warns that the "powerful lobbying arm of the Catholic Church" mistakenly claims that the HHS contraception mandate violates their religious liberty.
Individuals who choose not to pay for employees' contraceptives, the ACLU counters, are forcing their beliefs on their employees.
"The fundamental promise of religious liberty in this country doesn’t create a right to impose those views on others, including ignoring civil rights laws or denying critical health care," Gay insists.
Director of Washington Legislative Office Laura Murphy insisted on NBC's Today Show this morning that individuals could still "practice their religion as they see fit," by not using birth control.
At issue, however, is that under the HHS mandate, Catholic individuals and institutions are forced to violate their religious beliefs to pay for birth control, sterilizations, and abortifacients.
Gay also criticized the bishops -- who oversee the operations of 600 hospitals and 1,400 other health facilities in the United States -- for failing to talk about "women's health."
"We know that the vast majority of women will use birth control in their lifetimes," Gay writes, "And we know health care matters for women– be she a scientist at Norte Dame or a janitor working at St. Vincent’s Hospital – access to affordable birth control is essential for women and their families."