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February 7th, 2012
05:02 PM ET

Battle escalates over Obama rule for contraception coverage at Catholic institutions

By Dan Gilgoff and Lesa Jansen, CNN

(CNN) - The battle over a new White House policy compelling Catholic institutions to cover contraception in health insurance plans continues to escalate, with Republican presidential candidates denouncing the rule, liberal groups spotlighting Catholic support for contraception, and the Obama administration vowing to confront religious concerns head on.

"The president's interest is in making sure that … all women here have access to the same preventive care services,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.

“He is also concerned about and understands the religious concerns that have been raised,” Carney said, stressing that the White House would work to see if “the implementation of the policy can be done in a way that allays some of those concerns.”

Earlier Tuesday, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, David Axelrod, signaled that the president might be open to compromise on the issue.

“We certainly don’t want to abridge anyone’s religious freedoms,” Axelrod said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” “so we’re going to look for a way to move forward that both provides women with the preventative care that they need and respects the prerogatives of religious institutions.”

But the dispute - spurred by a late January announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services that all employers, including Catholic hospitals and schools, will be required to offer free access to FDA-approved contraceptives like the birth control pill and Plan B (the so-called morning-after pill) through health insurance plans - shows no signs of dying down.

”Implementing the policy as is and allaying the concerns are mutually exclusive," Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Tuesday. "If they want to allay concerns, they need to change the policy. Nothing less will do."

Churches are exempt from the policy, which goes into effect August 1, and religious institutions that oppose contraception have been given a yearlong extension to comply.

The Roman Catholic Church, which opposes the use of contraception, continued Tuesday to signal that it is intent on resisting the new policy.

“The bishops aren’t going to stop until this is fixed, and that means pursuing every legal means available to them to fix it,” Picarello said.

The flap was thrust further into the national political spotlight on Tuesday, as Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum attacked the new rule in his victory speech on a night that he swept primaries and caucuses in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado.

The administration had told American Catholics that “you have a right to health care, but you will have the health care that we tell you you have to give your people, whether it’s against the teachings of your church or not,” Santorum said in his Missouri speech.

“I never thought, as a first-generation American, whose parents and grandparents loved freedom and came here because they didn’t want the government telling them what to believe and how to believe … that we’d have a president of the United States who would roll over that and impose his secular values on the people of this country.”

His GOP rival Mitt Romney has continually denounced the Health and Human Services rule in recent weeks.

Speaking in Loveland, Colorado, on Tuesday, Romney said the rule was “in violation of the religious conscience of (Catholic) organizations.”

“This kind of assault on religion will end if I am president of the United States,” he said.

A survey released Tuesday by the Public Religion Research Institute found that Catholics are divided over whether religious colleges and hospitals should have to provide employees with health insurance that covers birth control at no cost. Forty-five percent of Catholic voters support such a requirement, while 52% oppose it.

“Given how closely divided Catholic voters are over the requirement that religiously affiliated hospitals and colleges provide employees with health care plans that cover contraception,” said Daniel Cox, research director at the Public Religion Research Institute, “it seems unlikely that this issue will galvanize Catholics nationally and seriously undermine Obama's electoral prospects with this important religious constituency.”

Planned Parenthood also released a survey on the rule Tuesday; it found that 53% of Catholics think that women employed by Catholic hospitals and universities should have the same rights to contraceptive coverage as other women.

“The message to Democrats is that this is something all women deserve to have and that religion just shouldn’t be an issue with it,” said Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, which conducted the survey for Planned Parenthood.

Over the past two weekends, the American Catholic hierarchy has distributed letters harshly condemning the Health and Human Services policy to be read at parishes nationwide during Mass.

“We cannot – we will not – comply with this unjust law,” Kansas City, Kansas, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann wrote in a letter to parishes last weekend. “Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help rebuild America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God-given rights.”

The rule has also drawn the ire of some influential evangelicals. “I'm not a Catholic but I stand in 100% solidarity with my brothers & sisters to practice their belief against govt pressure,” influential California-based pastor Rick Warren said in a tweet Tuesday night.

“I'd go to jail rather than cave in to a govement mandate that violates what God commands us to do,” Warren tweeted in a separate message. “Would you?”

- CNN's Brianna Keilar contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Catholic Church • Politics

soundoff (1,120 Responses)
  1. Bill

    This is just another attempt by President Obama to get us to forget about this until after the election when his attack on those who do not share his opinion of abortion, freedom of religion, etc. will continue.

    February 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      It is a good game plan. Draw the attention of your oposition to a decoy, like a one on one receiver match up that you would almost always go to, and then counter with a running play. Just don't do a reverse! That hardly ever works.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • Anne

      Give me a plan with real choice for my conscience on matters of human life. The law, as written and interpreted, fails to do so, by forcing me to contribute to a pot what is used for products/services I find morally wrong.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      Well Anne, some people think it is not enough, some people think it is too much. But the helmets the players where now are safer than ever and the rules in place to protect defenseless players do a pretty good job. There is always a risk thought when you are involved in risky business.

      February 7, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • maggie

      If that is true then he got pre-empted by 28 governors of individual states who enacted this mandate at various times in their states, several with no exemptions for religious conscience at all. Partisan comments aren't always informed ones now are they.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  2. Anne

    Hey, I posted about an hour ago, in support of the Church's position and my own personal right to buy coverage without the contraceptive requirement. Is there a delay on posting? Or am I just paranoid....?

    February 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
    • CNN Moderator

      We did not agree with your opinion, so the post was deleted.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • No please ...

      You ARE paranoid, and it's the PROOF that there IS a god. She did it.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • A Little Help

      Usually there is a problem with forbidden words and syllables: ti*t as in consti*tution, se*x, j*ap as in Ja*panese etc. The filter is automated. Nothing personal.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      Anne, that upsets me too. It's like you want to by single game tickets, but (The Chargers are a good example) They won't sell them to you unless they are bundled with like two other games. For example, they don't want Raider fans buying up single game tickets to the San Diego Oakland game, so they make it diffucult and expensive to get tickets. Hey, if your fans are too lame to support their team too bad, right? So it is not paranoia, they really are sticking it to you!

      February 7, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • maggie

      Soooo, why would you need to buy coverage that doesn't include it? No one is forcing you to use contraceptives. By golly, have all the little yunguns you want.

      February 8, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  3. recieva

    just sayin

    "A work in progress. Are you doing your part in prayer?"

    A work in progress? LOL. How many people have to die and starve before you'll give up your prayer delusion. Obviously, it doesn't work.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
    • recieva

      The only thing that will work is human intervention, "Love one another ... ."

      February 7, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • just sayin

      You think people suffering and starving is funny?

      February 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      No. I just think morons and hypocrites like you are funny, justlylin'.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      I am reminded of the Detroit Lions fans suffering through that horrible 0-16 season and starving for something, anything good to happen. The worst record in NFL history, a dubious distinction that will permanently stain everyone involved.

      The 2008 Lions lost to the Green Bay Packers 31-21 on Sunday, making them the first team to go winless through a 16-game season.

      But in time, some changes in the front office, drafting Stafford after that season, Megatron and some excellent personell moves on both sides of the ball, and the Lions were competive in 2011 Ok fans, you can eat now.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  4. Maria

    Ed's post says it all, see his post below.

    You made a really good a logical point let point out however that most companies have rules for what they will or will not pay for for health insurance this rule is just along religious lines. The government did not tell my last job it had to pay for bariatric surgery for the morbidly obese employees, why should it tell the church they have to provide birth control? An employees always has the option to seek other employment or pay out of pocket.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:04 pm |
    • BRC

      And the response.

      That is because up until now companies could do whatever they wanted with their health care plans, which often left families unable to pay for medicines and procedures that would greatly improve their quality of life, because the company wanted to save money. After public influence, the Government has decided this is unacceptable, and is now mandating a minimum standard of care that all US Citizens will have access to. You can't compare this to what you've seen before, because our country has never done this before. It's meant to be different.

      Now, you could make the case that this is a socialist proposal (truly it is), and that it goes against the core tenets of capitalism (you;re now telling corporations how to spend their money). That is a substantial issue, and one that was heavily weighed and considered before this bill was actually put in place (and an argument that many companies are trying to keep going). The balance of where protecting quality of life and respecting the free market evens out is a very difficult discussion, and an important one to have. If someone wants to argue with this bill on those grounds, then they have a case to make (though it makes you seem a bit greedy). It has nothing to do with the First Amendment.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Maria

      You cannot force a religion to go against their belief, no should any president be allowed to do so.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:09 pm |
    • BRC

      @Maria,
      As I said before, if you do it to protect individual citizen's rights, and you do it evenly to ALL religions; yes, you can. The Consttution, here specifically the First Amendment, applies to PEOPLE not organizations. The Church itself doesn't have any First Amendment rights to violate. As long as its followers aren't made to do anything against there religion, it's legal.

      You never answered before, who's rights do you think should be more valued, and individual's, or the "hospital's"?

      February 7, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • Ed

      @BRC The church is a legal enti-ty with the same legal rights as a individual. It is also made up of individuals many of which disagree with this law. whose rights are more valuable yours or theirs

      February 7, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • BRC

      @Ed,
      Actually, according to the Consttution, the Church does not have the same rights. There have been court cases and rulings where in some cases organizations (such as corporations or churches), can be treated as individuals, but it is not a unilateral definition, they are not the same thing.

      And to me, every individual's rights and beliefs are equally important. But here's something to consider. Every individual has equal rights as everyone else, and to me those rights MUST be more important than an organization, and here's why. Let's say group a consists of 5 people and they all believe that contraceptives are bad. If there was a vote, that would be 5 noes. group B consists of 5 people, they approve of contraceptives, o that's 5 yeses, we are even, and the democratic views are respected. Now let's say group A forms NO Inc. According to you, NO Inc's values should be held with the same weight as all of the individuals, which would add a 6th no. It is now 6 noes and 5 yeses, the noes win, because they each technically got more than one vote, even though there are an even number of people on both sides of the issue, who all should have been free to practice according to their own beliefs, That;s why the organizations "beliefs" must be secondary to individuals.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:35 pm |
    • No please ...

      Ed,
      The church exists as it does in this society... has what it has.... does what it does, BECAUSE society has formed the structures and laws from which it (accepts the), benefits in countless ways. It IS subject to the laws of society.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Maria

      Sorry, I had to pick up my granddaughter, in answer to your question, if hospitals that a patient has chosen to go to has certain religious beliefs that the patient doesn't agree with, then again why go there? The same goes for someone that wants to work for a Catholic Hospital, they have a right to their beliefs. It still boils down to, the government should not be allowed to dictate that a religion has to go against their beliefs. We are talking about contraceptives and abortions correct? As I said before the Catholic Church has had the same beliefs for years, you have the choice to go where someone agrees with your beliefs.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • BRC

      @Maria,
      I don't think you fully understand the law. Even with the new act, no Catholic Hospital ever has to provide contraceptives, or perform abortions. In fact, it is a pretty solidly grounded law that no health care physician has to do ANYTHING that is against their personal beliefs (this can even be exercised in some life or death situations). All this bill says, is that Catholic Hospitals have to provide INSURANCE for their EMPLOYEES that would allow them to get contraceptives. That's it. if a female employee of a Catholic Hospital wants the birth control pill, her hospital will make sure it's paid for, but she still has to go to an outside pharmacy to get it.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:55 pm |
    • martint

      @Maria, while you have a valid point on the one hand, you fail to mention that many hospitals that are affiliated with churches are the only ones that provide certain services, particularly in some areas of the country. I have NO problem going to a church supported hospital, I don't have to believe the way they do, I just want certain services provided. Now, if they want to turn me away because I am an atheist, they we have a problem. I did see something today that said 98% of Catholic women of child bearing age, use contraceptives. wow.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Maria

      BRC, I do understand fully, what I think you don't understand by having that clause in their employees insurance policy, they feel that they are aiding a person to get contraceptives or an abortion which to them is the same thing as going against their beliefs. The simplest way for me to explain it is they are aiding and abating.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:04 pm |
    • Maria

      martint, we are talking about an employees right at a Catholic Hospital to have insurance that allows them to get birth control pills. As far as how many Catholic women take birth control, that is not surprising. After all there a large number of Catholics in this country and very few of them have huge families. I am not saying that I am against birth control pills, or that they should not be given to women, I am saying that the Catholic Church should not have to provide the insurance for it because they do not believe in birth control.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • BRC

      @Maria,
      Fine, but that's not the same thing as making the Catholic Hospital provide those services, that would violate beliefs of the individuals rendering the service.

      here's a better way to look at it, by requiring the church to provide their employees with health care that covers these services, you are preventing the Church from infringing on those individual employee's rights, which is part of the government's job.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
    • Maria

      I understand that but I also understand why the church feels the way they do. They government shouldn't make them compromise their beliefs. I do understand how you feel, that the individuals rights trump the hospitals. I have enjoyed our discussion it has been refreshing to discuss a topic without being called ignorant, a moron, stupid, or any other insult that people come up with. I think it's safe to say that we both agree that we disagree. Thank you for your insights, unfortunately I have to take my granddaughter home so I cannot continue this discussion as she lives 40 minutes away. Have a great evening.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • sam

      Maria, you've very successfully and stridently made us all aware of your opinion and how strongly you hold it. Congrats. Now it's just getting tiresome. Can't you go play with your granddaughter for a while, maybe drill into her head how mad you are at the president and how stuck in one mindset you are? That would be a great learning experience for her.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      Look, the presidents can do whatever the please. Why do you think we still have the BCS bowls? I don't want it. You don't want. I have never met anyone who wants it. But the presidents, the NCAA and the booster want it because is a proven cash windfall and there are no guarantees that a playoff system would be more lucritive!

      February 7, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Ed

      @BRC using your 5 no 5 yes example the 5 yes would form the yes compnay again equaliziint the votes. However thats not really my point. Organization don't get the same voting rights as individuals and should not but again not the point. This a a perfect example of the govt. deciding what is right and trying to force every one to agree. This is nothing new and in fact is sometimes necessary. Anti discrimination laws are a good example of when it was right to do so. But this is about morals and religious belief. There is not right to health insurance in the consti-tution or anywhere. It is not the govts. job to provide it or force others to provide to coverage thry think is right. I agree companies should it is a smart move and the right thing to do. However birth control is a elective choice it is not necessary for life. People do have the option to adstain (as hard as we may find that). It is wrong for Big Brother govt to say to all organizations you must provide birth control regardless of your beliefs because we said so. The is not democracy it is facismm, or communism.

      February 8, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Unbelievable

      Part of me feels that the Catholic church is more concerned by the possibility that their members would select these services if available as part of their insurance. I think it scares them that a majority of Catholic women do not agree with the doctrine set forth by the Catholic church.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • maggie

      Maria, where have you been all these years? Are you aware that in many communities, a Catholic hospital may be the only hospital in the area? Are you aware that irrespective of what is going on with Obama today, that there are already 28 separate state laws that impose the same mandate? Perhaps even yours? It didn't bother you before, why now?

      February 8, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  5. recieva

    Jb, everyone is horrified about the news of the father that murdered his two young boys and his wife. You are comparing apples and oranges. Your standards are not universal nor should they be.

    February 7, 2012 at 8:03 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      I always wondered why, on the one hand you have (had) the Orange Bowl in Miami, but no Apple Bowl in Washington. It seems like one of the fruits never got it's just desserts!

      February 7, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Flavio

      I wish to express my oatrecippian to the writer just for rescuing me from such a instance. Just after scouting throughout the search engines and coming across things that were not beneficial, I believed my life was over. Being alive without the presence of solutions to the issues you have resolved all through the posting is a serious case, as well as those which might have in a negative way affected my entire career if I had not come across the website. Your primary ability and kindness in dealing with everything was very useful. I don't know what I would've done if I hadn't discovered such a stuff like this. I am able to at this time look ahead to my future. Thanks so much for the reliable and amazing guide. I won't think twice to propose the website to any person who should get recommendations on this problem.

      March 4, 2012 at 3:45 am |
  6. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    February 7, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • recieva

      Really? Then why has thousands of years of prayer not stopped war and hunger?

      February 7, 2012 at 8:08 pm |
    • just sayin

      A work in progress. Are you doing your part in prayer?

      February 7, 2012 at 8:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Are you doing YOUR part, justlyin'? Which PART are ya doing?

      February 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • sam

      just sayin is doing his part by...posting aimless BS online.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:19 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      It's pretty much all he's good for. Justlyin' is a moron.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:23 pm |
    • No please ...

      receiva,
      you see, the "work in progress" means that god has a divine calculator...and she is counting the prayers until she gets up to the right number. If you would just kindly do your part, then the number would get up to the "prayer quota" faster. Now get busy ! 😉

      February 7, 2012 at 9:26 pm |
    • fred

      receiva
      Man has the capacity, technology and resources to end hunger yet chooses to spend his time and money on personal pleasure. God has answered the prayer ending hunger by giving man everything needed to save the starving. God will not take away our free will and force us to buy food for the starving instead of pretty little dresses and bling, attending sports events and fancy vacations etc. There are consequenses for choosing self over starving children even if there is no God.

      War today is the result of power, pride and greed run loose when man rejects God and goes his own way. How can you love God freely if you are forced into acting with compasion towards others and forced to love God. No, you choose to love God or reject God. Was is a product of man not God.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      Praying didn't help Roberto Duran in 1980. In their re-match fight, Roberto Duran called, "No mas," to the referee, quitting and giving Sugar Ray Leonard the victory.

      Duran said he quit because of stomach cramps, but his trainer said he quit because of embarrassment. It took years for Duran's home country to forgive him. It will forever be known as the "No Mas" fight!

      February 7, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Tony

      Jenny / After being a stay at home mom for 5 years, and then re-entering the business world, I think I am still pialyng catch-up with my male contemporaries even after 25 years!

      October 8, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  7. Marcelo - Los Angeles

    I'm a non practicing Catholic. I would love to attend my church if it only stepped away from its draconian policies. Celibacy should be a choice for priests; maybe that would cut down on the abuse scandles. Women should be allowed to be priests; stupid law all together. Women should be allowed to use contraceptives; maybe we wouldn't have so many teenage pregnancies!

    February 7, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • *facepalm*

      Why bother staying with the RCC, then? Why bother partially aligning yourself with an organization that you don't seem to really support?

      February 7, 2012 at 7:53 pm |
    • Maria

      I am Greek Orthodox and we do allow contraception but the Catholic religion does not. If you want them to change their ways then that's your opinion, but that is their beliefs, they shouldn't be forced to do something that is against their faith.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Maria

      Our priest also are allowed to get married but again this is not their belief.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Ed

      "Women should be allowed to use contraceptives; maybe we wouldn't have so many teenage pregnancies!"

      Ok this always gets to me. If some one can chose to have se-x against religious rules why can't they also chose to use birth control against the same rules? They can hose to break one rule but not the other, sonds like an excuse to me.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:16 pm |
    • No please ...

      pedophilia has nothing to do with celibacy

      February 7, 2012 at 8:45 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      Marcelo, you are never going to get any playing time if you don't practice.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • maggie

      Maria posted: "I am Greek Orthodox and we do allow contraception but the Catholic religion does not. If you want them to change their ways then that's your opinion, but that is their beliefs, they shouldn't be forced to do something that is against their faith."

      Well, and I am a taxpayer who doesn't believe in this crappy religion. Why should my dollars be used to support something I don't believe in? Your argument goes both ways here does it not?

      February 8, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  8. recieva

    There is no war on religion. Just ordinary folks trying to live their lives without it.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • martint

      HIGH 5!!!!

      February 7, 2012 at 8:41 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      Elevated Body Bump!

      February 7, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  9. Jerry

    Lies, lies and more lies! Every time this Flip Flopping-in-Chief president opens his huge mouth; I can't help but grab my wallet. It is feeling lighter and lighter by the minute.

    Lets get this flip flopper out of office; for the good of our country.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
    • Maria

      He will revise this, why take a chance of alienating the Hispanic community who are very religious and Catholic during an election year. Trust me he reversed his opinion on campaign funds because he needs big business money to get re-elected.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nonsense. Most Catholics in this country use contraception at some point in their lives. They're not going to vote Republican because of this little bit of nonsense.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      Look, if the league mandates you where socks, you where socks. If they are certain brand or height up on the leg, so be it. We all have to tolerate the rules. Put on your socks and be safe. You don't want to get fined do you?

      February 7, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  10. recieva

    The RCC is full of clergy having affairs with women. Do they use birth control?

    February 7, 2012 at 7:31 pm |
    • nothing new here

      Probably do.
      Big girls get pregnant, unlike little boys.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:35 pm |
  11. recieva

    Where is my post?

    February 7, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      LOL, huh oh, you pulled a Thurman Thomas when he couldn't find his helmet for the Bills at the beginning of the Super Bowl.

      He lost his helmet at the start of Super Bowl XXVI against Washington. Typically, Thomas placed his helmet at the 40-yard-line before a game, but it was moved in order for a stage to be set up for Harry Connick Jr.'s rendition of the national anthem before the game. He scrambled to find his helmet, causing him to miss Buffalo's first two plays from scrimmage. It was the start of a miserable performance in which he rushed for only 13 yards on 10 carries in a 37-24 loss to the Redskins.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
  12. smk

    I'm confused on this. By requiring Catholic organizations (such as schools and hospitals) to cover contraception and sterilization does not force anyone to to get contraceptives or to be sterilized, it just means if the employees of these organizations have insurance coverage of contraceptives IF they CHOOSE to use contraceptives or an operation such as a vasectomy or tubal ligation for sterilization. So, if an employee of these organizations feel that its is immoral or against their religious conscience to use contraceptives they can simply choose not to ask for prescription or choose not to be sterilized.

    I'm confused about the uproar.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • Maria

      No confusion, why work there then? This is what they believe they shouldn't have to change or go against their beliefs if it is a Catholic Hospital.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • recieva

      Correct and correct.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • BRC

      @Maria,
      Because sometimes you work where you can find it. If a female doctor or nurse was looking for a job, found one at a Catholic hospital (even though she wasn't herself Catholic), and did a good job, why should she suffer by having less health care protection than every other woman in the country, just because her employer (an organization, which is not garnered Consttutional protection the way people are) doesn't agree with her decisions about her own body. she isn't asking the Catholic hospital to PROVIDE the contraceptives, only to provide her with the same health care coverage that every other US Citizen would have, so she could go and by it elsewhere. What could possibly be wrong with that?

      February 7, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Maria

      This isn't something new, they have always had those beliefs, don't work there if you can't follow their rules, why should they change something that they believe in because you want a job there. If their beliefs are against contraception then providing them for their employees is forcing them to go against their beliefs, it's simple.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
    • BRC

      @Maria,
      The Catholic Hospital doesn't have to provide contraceptives, just health insurance that covers it.

      If you don't mind, answer this. Is the Hospital(an organization)'s right to enforce what it believes to be right more valid than an individual citizen's right to freedom of religion and receipt of protections given by Federal law?

      February 7, 2012 at 7:48 pm |
    • Maria

      Why should they provide that type of insurance, if it goes against their beliefs? Those rules have been in place a long time is what I am trying to say.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
    • BRC

      @Maria,
      What rules?

      And they should have to do it because the government is trying to fix a system that has been deemed broken (the US health care system). They should have to provide it because the federal government has said that this is something all US Citizens (in this case women) Should and will have access to. Why should a business affiliated with a church, that isn't actually a church, be exempt from providing this for its people when noone else is?

      February 7, 2012 at 7:54 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Maria, slavery was "in place" a long time, too. So what? It's wrong to deny workers the same coverage as other Americans simply because they're employed by a hospital affiliated with the CatholicChurch.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm |
  13. CindySuz

    I was raised in the Catholic faith and spent 20 years working as a nurse in 3 different Catholic run hospitals. Many religious organizations hire people who do not share their beliefs. These religious oganizations should not be allowed to deny any type of medical care to these employees. Just because birth control is offered as an optional piece of a medical plan does not mean those of the Catholic faith must use the option. This has nothing to do with Catholic hospitals dispensing birth control pills. No one asked or expected them to do this. It is simply providing all employees the option to have birth control covered in their insurance plan.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:11 pm |
    • sam

      See, you're being rational and showing an understanding of what's happening, and not raving around about the war on religion. You can't come in here and be sane! What are you thinking! This is a place for hysteria and drama!

      February 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Maria

      No one is forcing you to work for a Catholic Hospital, just as the Islamic Students are filing a law suit against a Catholic University because of their religious images, then why would you go there if your Islamic?

      February 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • nothing new here

      Maria,
      So the religious are now suing each other – how funny.
      So much for those "family values".

      February 7, 2012 at 7:29 pm |
    • Ed

      You made a really good a logical point let point out however that most companies have rules for what they will or will not pay for for health insurance this rule is just along religious lines. The government did not tell my last job it had to pay for bariatric surgery for the morbidly obese employees, why should it tell the church they have to provide birth control? An employees always has the option to seek other employment or pay out of pocket.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:45 pm |
    • Maria

      Thank you Ed, finally someone that get it.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • BRC

      @Ed,
      That is because up until now companies could do whatever they wanted with their health care plans, which often left families unable to pay for medicines and procedures that would greatly improve their quality of life, because the company wanted to save money. After public influence, the Government has decided this is unacceptable, and is now mandating a minimum standard of care that all US Citizens will have access to. You can't compare this to what you've seen before, because our country has never done this before. It's meant to be different.

      Now, you could make the case that this is a socialist proposal (truly it is), and that it goes against the core tenets of capitalism (you;re now telling corporations how to spend their money). That is a substantial issue, and one that was heavily weighed and considered before this bill was actually put in place (and an argument that many companies are trying to keep going). The balance of where protecting quality of life and respecting the free market evens out is a very difficult discussion, and an important one to have. If someone wants to argue with this bill on those grounds, then they have a case to make (though it makes you seem a bit greedy). It has nothing to do with the First Amendment.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
    • Ed

      @BRC but it does have to do with the first admendment. This is the government tell a religious group what they have to do and at some level have to accept and therefore believe. I agree some govt. control is nescessary and intruth have no problem with people using birth control to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. I feel differently on abortion after the fact, buts thats a different discussion. My problem her is Obama violating the seperation of church and state and tell and relgious group they have to accept his beliefs or get or else. We have seen this before and it never ends well. religious freedom is a found principle of this country and must be protected even from well meaning laws. With out religioud freedom we simply are not the USA. Finally again the employees can seek other emlloyment if enough do the chruch may be forced to change any way. This is still religious freedom because its not the gont. saying do it becasue we said so. The the employees saying do it or we quit.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • BRC

      @ED,
      I see your point, but I feel there is an interpretation. There can be no law telling an individual what to do or believe when it comes to religion, and there can be know law that mandates what a religion's beliefs will be, BUT, you absolutely can tell religions what they must ACCEPT. That's part of the government's job. There are times when the government must step in and tell a religion, it doesn't matter what you believe you are not allowed to infringe on the rights of US Citizens, they have protection from the first amendment. Now, the Churches themselves are exempt from that (something I understand and can accept), but their hospitals and schools aren't. As soon as you go out into the public realm, and put yourself in situations where you are no longer interacting with individuals PURELY of your faith, then you are now open to the government enforcing those people's first amendment rights, and the rights of an individual absolutely outweigh the rights of a religious affiliated private organization. If the hospital could prove that it was ONLY staffed by devout Catholics, and that no one who ever had or ever would work there believed in or agreed with contraceptives, and you accepted 0 Government dollars in support, you were purely a church run facility, then you could ignore the law, and anyone who works there should know what they're getting into. But that's not what's being discussed here, so the religion's beliefs are secondary.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:22 pm |
    • Ed

      @BRC well put. However all employeers make laws the interfer with some rights citizens have. I work for a Financila company I can not buy a stock on its intial public offering like you can because my company says so. If I can not accept this I can quit and work else where. Its the same thing. The church has the right to say we think this is wrong based on religious grounds. No one is forced to work there or attend schools oruse these businesses. If the employess don't like the rules they can seek other employment if enough do the curch may change its stance anyway. This would not be the same as the govt. saying our way or else though and would therefore not violate religious freedom.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:30 pm |
    • BRC

      @ED,
      In many financial jobs the reasons for what you can and get you can and can't do is because there are federal regulations to avoid impropriety and high dollar scams (I'm not in any way saying you would do this, it tend so happen at really high individual levels), and the lawyers make strict company policies to make sure there isn't even an appearance of impropriety. I work for the government, there are many things I can't do financially because they could present a "conflict of interest".

      The funny part is that I kind of agree with you. If a company wants to offer crappy benefits and lose all their employees to better offers, so be it, let them lose the people. The problem is we're finding the natural order of things isn't balancing out in the end. Unemployment is so high right now (and for some time), that no matter how bad a job is someone is going to do it; principles are all good and well, but most all of us need to eat. So, left to our own devices, the free market was proving that making money won over taking care of people in most cases. And in truth, I still don't really even care about that, but it's why the government stepped in. SO like I said, I can actually see criticizing the decision, but in truth it's not a First Amendment issue.

      February 7, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
    • spm

      It also comes down to money. The new 'law' also states there shouldn't have to be a co-pay for it (contraception) because it is preventative medicine . Unless taking the pill is medically necessary, the Catholic Church should not have to cover it in their plan -nor should any other church run hospital. I am Catholic, took BC when I as in college (on my dime, my choice) – I'm not trying to be a hypocrit but I don't think an employer should have to fork out $ for coverage in its helathcare plans if it goes against its beliefs and to Ed's example....-at the same time I don't think it should pay for bariatric treatment either -maybe offering nutrition classes instead. I personally don't see this as denying and employee's rights – did you not know who you applied to work for prior to asking for a job application???? I used to work in a seventh Day Adventist hospital years ago. It provided meat to the patients but the cafeteria where the employees ate served no meat, I knew this the day I applied, you adapt!

      February 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  14. nothing new here

    One of the next things we need to tackle is this –
    WE the people need to demand that this "tax-exempt" status of churches and non-profit organizations be abolished.
    It is not fair for private citizens to pay out (esp. the middle class).
    No more free rides for churches – pay up!!

    February 7, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
  15. bat46man

    Valerie PLEASE.... STRIPING RELIGIOUS FREEDOM...OH WOW..... How about a President that is actual concerned about a WOMAN's RIGHT to what she believes SHOULD be HER "CHOICE".... you for a so called Democrat would say that... Unless some of the LESS Fortunate (of VERY POOR ) that MITT and his gang has claimed to have a SAFETY NET .... The same SAFETY NET they want to TAKE AWAY from the POOR.... The Catholic Church is a sancutary for CHILD MOLESTERS but they wont consider granting WOMEN that WANT FREE BC access to it....HOW SAD IS THAT!!!!!

    February 7, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
    • Maria

      Child molestation is a different issue, this is about Separation of Church and State isn't that what everybody has been complaining about?

      February 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • nothing new here

      It will be a "separation of church and state" when the state stops giving taxpayers $$$$ to the RCC.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
    • nothing new here

      Maria,
      The mention of child-molesting in this debate IS valid.
      Because this shows that the churches think they are above the laws of this land.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:18 pm |
    • Maria

      Just as this administration is above the law of our land, so what's your point?

      February 7, 2012 at 7:22 pm |
    • nothing new here

      I believe I just stated it, several times in this forum.
      Do I need to keep copying and pasting?

      February 7, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
    • nothing new here

      The people of this country voted for Obama to be the President – not the Pope.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • Maria

      Fine then stop giving them tax dollars again all this will do is force them to close because they will not go against their beliefs, which means less health care available which we are going to need desperately. It's the slippery slope.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • nothing new here

      The tax $$$$ will just go to private hospitals and clinics.
      Also go to build new hospitals as well.
      No slippery slope – just capitalism.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
    • Jb

      How sad is it that you support a woman's "choice" to murder her own baby. What makes her life more important than that of the baby? Look how upset everyone is about the news of the father that murdered his two young boys. Murdering a child in the womb is no different. Why are we not upset by that as well?

      February 7, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      If you can't tell the difference between a fetus and a child, I suggest you go back to high school and re-take biology. After that, go to college and learn that murder is a legal term that has never been applied to abortion.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm |
  16. WDinDallas

    I wonder where they get their numbers. This is not about condoms, this is about separation of church and state. The state cannot not impose its directives on religion. This is what the Danbury Bapitist letter to Thomas Jefferson was all about. And TJ agreed with the Bapitist that Connecticut must cease and desist in its invasion on religious rights.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • sam

      See Cindy's post above for someone who gets it.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • kuewa

      The government is not imposing any directives on religion. Catholics are free to practice their faith, including choosing not to have abortions or use contraception. The ruling applies to employee rights, including the right to the insurance coverage options regardless of faith. Catholic businesses are employers, many receive Federal funding and payments, and should be subject to the same Federal rules and regulations as other US employers. Not all employees of these employers are of the same faith, and not all Catholics will choose to not to use contraception.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:25 pm |
    • BRC

      @WDinDallas,
      Actually the government can, as long as it does it evenly across all religions. the First Amendment protects the INDIVIDUAL's right to free practice of religion, Churches are protected by that in so much as the Government can take no measure against a church or religion that would make it difficult for private citizens to practice their faith. But, if the government directs a law at ALL religions, and it doesn't interfere with the practice of their faith, or put an undo burden on their existence (and this bill does neither), then it is legal. Telling a Catholic person they MUST use birth control is absolutely against the First Amendment. Telling Church affiliated organizations that they have to provide their employees the ability to use contraceptives, isn't even close.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:46 pm |
  17. nothing new here

    Even if the Obama administration backs down from mandate – the truth about the RCC and their members are being exposed.
    The fact that the RCC followers, a good portion, do not adhere to the teachings concerning birth control speaks volumes. And I am glad that liberal and moderate organizations are finally exposing this CULT for what it is.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • Maria

      All this will do is force them to close their doors, all this will do is make medical care harder to get.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:09 pm |
    • nothing new here

      Oh well.
      The RCC is running a lot their businesses on taxpayers $$$$. That includes people that are NOT Catholic.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Maria

      This is what they believe in, that doesn't make them a cult. They have a right to their beliefs just as Buddhists, Muslims, etc. I'm sure if it was any other religion besides Christianity they would be outrage.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
    • nothing new here

      Then if they are legitimate – then they follow the rules of this land, and pay taxes.
      Just like any legitimate organization should.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:19 pm |
    • nothing new here

      BTW, I would think a "legitimate" religion would not force it's belief systems on those that don't wish to believe.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Suppose, Maria, that 'they' believe in child slavery? Bestiality? Forced abortion? Think that would be okay-dokey? The fact is that religious inst it utions are NOT above the law. They can either comply or get out of the business. If you think anyone will notice the absence of Catholic hospitals, you're nuts.

      February 7, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
  18. Gary

    In my opinion if you are in the business of providing medical care then you must do just that regardless of your religious convictions. If your convictions are that strong then you should not be running a medical facility or be in the medical profession.
    This goes for Doctors, Pharmacists, Nurses, everyone!!!!

    February 7, 2012 at 7:04 pm |
  19. Maria

    I am Greek Orthodox and as such we do believe in birth control, but to force the Catholic Church to go against its beliefs is against Freedom of Religion in our country After giving over 1,200 waivers this administration chose to force the Catholic Church to follow its regulations is irrational. Though I do believe they the administration will change its mind being an election year. I also heard that they may delay this regulation for a year, again it is an election year.

    February 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • recieva

      No one is being forced to do anything. Thankfully, women have the choice,.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  20. Nonimus

    "It is also the same stupid thinking that Planned Parenthood gets hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money, but claim that none of it is used to fund abortions.
    If there is crap on one part of it, you just assume that crap is on all of it."

    This sounds like "crap thinking" to me. Why exactly do you think that it is impossible to separate federal money from other sources when dealing with abortion services. Generally, in business, there are these kinds of separations all the time, capital vs. operating expenses, revenue from operations vs investments, etc.

    February 7, 2012 at 6:59 pm |
    • Nonimus

      Sorry, mis-posted.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
    • recieva

      When you donate to United Way you are given the option as to which charity will receive your money.

      February 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm |
    • Sports Fan

      For more than 35 years, the National Football League—owners, coaches, players and staff—have been working with United Way to strengthen America’s communities. Most recently, the partnership is leveraging resources and relationships to raise awareness about the issue of childhood obesity and creating new opportunities for young people to lead healthier lifestyles. It’s part of United Way’s 2018 goal to increase by one third the number of healthy youth.

      February 7, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.