Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan is opposing the Obama administration's decision that requires many church-affiliated institutions to cover free birth control for their employees.
The ruling, which falls under the president's health care overhaul, calls for church-affiliated hospitals, colleges and social service agencies to offer workers access to everything from birth control to the so-called "morning after" pill.
“Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the market and buy a product that violates their conscience. This shouldn't happen in a land where free exercise of religion ranks first in the Bill of Rights," said Dolan.
An administration official said the president personally spoke with Dolan to inform him of the announcement.
Women's rights groups are applauding the ruling, but some predict religious-affiliated employers will simply drop workers' coverage and pay federal fines rather than comply.