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Religious groups sue New York over forced abortion insurance coverage

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany is leading a group of ten churches, dioceses, and organizations representing Catholics, Episcopals, Baptists, Lutherans, and non-religious groups and employers in suing the New York State Department of Financial Services and a number of insurance groups for the right not to provide abortion coverage in health insurance.

On April 26, the state agency issued a mandate that all individual and small group employers must cover abortions, which the religious groups are challenging as an infringement against their religious liberty and conscience rights.

“These abortion mandates under color of law constitute an invidious and coercive governmental infringement on the religious freedom and liberty of conscience of religious institutions, employers and individuals,” the complaint states, “and, if unchecked, will then result in even further dangerous incursions on religious freedom and liberty of conscience.”

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It further argues that the “imposition of this undisclosed abortion mandate, without any prior public or contractual notice, resulting in plaintiffs unwittingly and currently providing and affirmatively funding objectionable abortion coverage by the payment of premiums and co-pays contrary to their sincerely held moral and religious beliefs.”

According to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, the suit represents a diverse array of people and denominations fighting for their right not to be complicit in abortion:

Some are religious organizations, while one is a lay employee of a religious organization and one is a privately-held business. In addition to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, plaintiffs include the Roman Catholic Diocese of Ogdensburg; the Trustees of the (Episcopal) Diocese of Albany; the Sisterhood of St. Mary (an order of Anglican/Episcopal nuns); Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Brooklyn; Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany; Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Ogdensburg; St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church Society of Amherst; First Bible Baptist Church, Rochester; Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, Albany; Teresian House Nursing Home, Albany; Ms. Renée Morgiewicz, an employee of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany; and Murnane Building Contractors, Plattsburgh.

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