PORTLAND — The leader of Maine’s Roman Catholics is adding his voice to a chorus of condemnation by religious leaders of President Barack Obama’s decision to require church-affiliated institutions to cover free birth control for employees.

Bishop Richard Malone said today that churches and parishes would be exempt, but other institutions such as Catholic Charities, Catholic hospitals and schools would be required to meet the mandate.

Malone says that the church opposes contraception and “particularly the morning-after pill” that induces abortion. He says the mandate would require Catholic institutions to make an “impossible” choice of either violating their moral code or denying health care coverage.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said nonprofit institutions such as church-affiliated hospitals will have one additional year to comply.


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