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Two Catholic universities sue over birth control mandate

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(CNN) Two Catholic universities—along  with other institutions—have filed suit against the Obama administration and its federal healthcare mandate.

 The University of Notre Dame filed a lawsuit today challenging the federal mandate that religious employers offer health insurance coverage of contraceptives and birth control services.

The suit claims the policy violates the First Amendment right of religious freedom by requiring many religiously affiliated hospitals, schools and charities to comply.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and their respective departments are named as defendants.

Notre Dame's lawsuit is one of a dozen filed by 43 Catholic institutions against the federal government challenging the constitutionality of the regulation.

President Obama announced the controversial policy in January.

Today a White House spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuits.