A number of Catholic dioceses, schools and other institutions announced Monday afternoon that they are suing the Obama administration for the mandate on requiring most employers to cover birth control in their workers' plans, according to The Associated Press.

The University of Notre Dame, the Archdioceses of Washington, New York and Michigan, and the Catholic University of America are among the list across the country filing a lawsuit against the White House, reiterating that the mandate announced in January violates their religious freedom.

“For the first time in this country’s history, the government’s new definition of religious institutions suggests that some of the very institutions that put our faith into practice—schools, hospitals, and social service organizations—are not ‘religious enough,’” Archbishop of Washington's Cardinal Donald Wuerl said. "Catholic institutions of the Archdiocese of Washington, including its schools and social service ministries, do not qualify as religious and the mandate forces them to provide coverage for drugs and procedures that we believe are morally wrong.”

The U.S. Health and Human Services Department implemented the rule after an advisory panel from the Institute of Medicine recommended it last year.

Catholics for Choice, a nonprofit that counters many of the church's official positions on birth control, said last month in a press release, "It is not about telling people what they can and cannot believe or practice, but rather about respecting an individual’s right to follow his or her own conscience in religious beliefs and practices, as well as in moral decision making."

[Photo credit: Flickr user Paul J. Everett]