HANCEVILLE, Alabama, February 9, 2012 ( – Lawyers for the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) say that the broadcasting network has taken the Obama administration to court over a mandate forcing Catholic employers to pay for birth control, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty announced that it had filed suit Thursday morning on behalf of EWTN, considered the largest religious media network in the world.

“The federal government cannot force people to violate their religion like this,” said Mark Rienzi, Senior Counsel at the Becket Fund and a constitutional law professor at the Catholic University of America.  “Mother Angelica founded EWTN to spread the teachings of the Catholic Church—not to betray them.”


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Executives of the network said that it was unconscionable for the lay Catholic-run network to pay for abortifacient drugs such as Ella, the “week-after” birth control pill that is a sister drug of RU-486.

“If we are willing to compromise our Catholic faith, we are selling the soul of the network,” said Michael P. Warsaw, EWTN’s President and Chief Executive Officer.  “The mission of EWTN is not negotiable.”

The network also criticized government officials for offering religious groups another year to comply with the mandate.  “Maybe they missed the word ‘Eternal’ in the name,” quipped Warsaw.  “Betraying God’s love for every human person—even ones who are small and vulnerable—just isn’t something we’ll ever be able to adapt to.”

EWTN’s case is the third lawsuit brought by the Becket Fund challenging the Obama administration’s abortion drug mandate.  The Becket Fund also represents Belmont Abbey College, a Benedictine Catholic college in North Carolina, and Colorado Christian University, a nondenominational Christian university in Colorado, in similar lawsuits.  To date, the government has sought several extensions in those cases rather than answering the claims.