WASHINGTON, February 3, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) introduced a bill on Monday to rebut the threat to religious organizations presented by the Obama administration mandate that virtually all health insurers must provide sterilizations and abortifacient birth control free of charge.

Rubio’s bill, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2012, aims to expand the exemption from the mandate to cover all religious organizations, such as universities, hospitals, and charities, rather than merely houses of worship, as is the case under the current extremely narrow exemption.

The bill denounces the current exemption as “unprecedented in Federal law” and declares that “no guideline or regulation” under the federal health care law “shall require any individual or entity to offer, provide, or purchase coverage for a contraception or sterilization service, or related education or counseling, to which that individual or entity is opposed on the basis of religious belief.”

“This is a common sense bill that simply says the government can’t force religious organizations to abandon the fundamental tenets of their faith because the government says so,” said Rubio, as quoted in a Liberty Counsel press release this week.

In response to outrage over the mandate, Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services gave religious groups an extra year to comply with the mandate.

News that the administration wouldn’t budge on the mandate was met with widespread opposition in U.S. Catholic dioceses this weekend, with 142 bishops heading dioceses denouncing the rule. Leaders of other Christian denominations and religions have also expressed opposition to the mandate.

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