San Francisco, Calif., Jun 29, 2016 / 23:01 pm
Catholics and other groups that receive grants to care for immigrants are in the sights of the American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services.
The legal group's recent lawsuit says that social agencies that get federal money to care for refugees and undocumented migrants from Central America should be required to offer contraception and abortion, even if they have religious objections.
Among the lawsuit's claims: the federal government's accommodation of religious beliefs violates the First Amendment's prohibition on establishment of religion. It also claims a 1997 court settlement and later federal regulations oblige agencies with federal contracts to provide the coverage.
Douglas Laycock, a University of Virginia law professor, told the New York Times that he thought the ACLU's claim is weak due to precedents of federal agencies granting exemptions in their spending programs.