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Obama administration's birth control mandate brings lawsuit from 7 states

Seven states are suing Obama over a rule that requires religious employers cover birth control for their employees.

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President Barack Obama announces that religious employers will not be mandated to offer free contraceptive coverage for workers at the White House, February 10, 2012. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama's birth control mandate, which requires some religious employers to cover birth control in their employees’ healthcare plans, has incited a lawsuit from seven state attorney generals, the Hill reported

The lawsuit was filed today in federal court in Nebraska by the state’s Attorney General Jon Bruning, who was joined by attorneys general from Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and South Carolina, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. They argue that the White House is violating the religious freedoms protected by the First Amendment. 

More from GlobalPost: Birth control rule: Obama makes change to accommodate religious groups

"Government has no business forcing religious institutions and individuals to violate their sincerely held beliefs," Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement Thursday, CNN reported. "This lawsuit is about protecting religious liberty and the rights of conscience, our most basic freedoms as Americans."

The birth control rule was announced as part of the federal health care law, and has been heavily criticized by religious groups that object to the use of contraceptives, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs.

In response, Obama administration officials have said they will shift the requirement from the employers to health insurers themselves, the Associated Press reported

Erin Shields, a spokeswoman for the US Department of Health and Human Services, declined to comment on pending litigation, Bloomberg reported. 

This is not the first lawsuit brought against the Obama administration in relation to the new mandate on contraceptive coverage, CNN reported. The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty also filed a series of lawsuits, which argue that even the revised polices on contraception access constitute a violation of their clients' faith.

More from GlobalPost: Catholic bishops still oppose Obama birth control rule, despite change

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120224/states-sue-obama-birth-control-rule