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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. US Voter

    I don't think it's much different than tax dollars paying for war, even though my religion says Thou Shalt Not Kill. I don't agree with it, but have to pay for it anyway. Not allowing birth control coverage is pushing religious morals on others. If they don't want to comply, they don't have to accept Federal funds.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • jimmy

      The real question is why any company should pay for it. You are not going to die if you don't have it. It is your problem if you want children or not. If it was the school that have to give condoms and this pills for free in high school and up. This will be a different story, the whole nation will be on and uproar. If you want this you should also want to give them to teenagers so we won’t have teen moms=)

      February 8, 2012 at 1:43 pm |
  2. Julnor

    Is there anyone who doesn't believe that this is a prime example of govt overstepping its bounds? I'm an atheist and I'm flabbergasted.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • ialsoagree

      Absolutely NOT.

      A religious organization restricting the rights of those working for it is the absolutely the time government needs to step in to protect the people.

      The bill of rights says absolutely NOTHING about the government not being allowed to pass laws that effect religious organizations. Read the 1st amendment closely, that is not what the first amendment says.

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

      ialsoagree: These religious organizations are not restricting the rights of those working for it in any way shape or form. These people can go to any grocery store, gas station, drug store, etc and get birth control options. They can get prescription birth control from their doctor. What the govt is doing is forcing these religious organizations to pay for something that the organization finds morally abhorrant. It would be like Mothers Against Drunk Driving being forced to provide free beer at their meetings.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  3. Andrew

    I don't really see the problem. No one is forcing people to use the contraceptives, just to offer the option in insurance.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Iris

      Me neither. Theya re just making a huge deal out of nothing. Typical.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Betty W

      Sad part is both sides like it when we squabble over this stuff. Makes us better sheep. The politicians involved dont really care as long as they make our blood boil and get us to not see the truly important things. Like how both sides are screwing up the government and economy.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  4. jdun

    Catholics aren't really divided over this issue, most catholic women use or have used birth control and will side with the democrats when they vote. Catholic clergy, that is men, are trying to prevent women from having the right to control their fertility. If you make this an argument about whether or not women can get contraceptives paid for through their healthcare provider I would like to see that poll. I am waiting to hear the argument about vasectomiies!

    February 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Discouraged Catholic

      The Catholic church also opposes sterilization. The concept of Universal Healthcare is one that people just don't seem to understand. This does not infringe on my religious beliefs, since it is my choice to actually use birth control. You must understand the Catholic Church in order to understand why they are up in arms. It has never been good enough to worship together each Sunday and teach the beliefs of the church to the faithful and trust that the faithful will either do the right thing or face the consequences in the hereafter. The Catholic Church is not happy unless it is ramming its list of dos and don't down our throats every chance it can get and inserting itself into politics and our government. Well, I for one, am done drinking the kool-aid and blindly following along. The opposition to birth control, sterilization and abortion is the Church's way of trying to keep women down. This woman will not confuse loving God with allowing herself to become a simple-minded breeding machine.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • jimmy

      Ok you are both wrong. 1 they don't want this birth control because it includes the morning after pill that woman can take even after a week after, and can be use to end it after the first month. 2. They consider this to be abortion. 3 there are no woman up there saying "Give me my pills" are they? 4 this is should be under plane parenthood. You will not die because you don't have them. 5. how would you feel if i tell you, that you have to give this to your children including condoms ( which you could get for free on a catholic hospital by the way for free) to your children and they should carry this condoms or you will pay a fine to the government.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm |
  5. LB Colorado

    Choice is critical, to who you are, what you want as an individual. Churches cannot and should not ever take away your ability to choose. Jesus went to the cross by choice and that is where victory was won. Not by mandates from laws or church doctrine, doctrines/churchs are man made PERIOD. God said, go and multiply, if you want to multiply that is your choice, if you do not, that too is your choice. RIGHT OR WRONG, choice should never be taken away.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  6. marie

    This is not a Catholic issue it is an American issue! I hope that all people will step up and make thier voices be heard. The Federal Govt. has no right to force the hand of a church on any issues involving sterilizations and brith control. The fact is many of these services are free and or very cheap at health depts. and planned parenthood, so forced to believe it is an ideology that has been kept hidden that this administration was hoping to do during this reign. That's right reign! It won't do! The left wants christian to be persecuted so they will not be allowed to have so many babies that is why they support abortion. ( I support abortion if I choose it) but the left choose it to limit births because we don't want to harm the planet right? Funny Liberal Left never does this to Muslims does it???????????

    February 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • ialsoagree

      Your view point is completely warped and false.

      This is the situation: a religious organization is limiting the choices available to women. The administration has said, in line with the consitution, that that religious organization has no right to limit the choices of it's female employees beyond what is considered societally acceptable.

      The religious organization is now claiming that it's rights, as a religious organization, trump those of actual living people.

      Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong. People >>> religious organizations 100% of the time.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • richunix

      Marie, read the article first before your resond. It make is available, IT DOES NOT FORCE YOU TO USE IT. But then I guess your the poster girl for the Catholic chunch....

      February 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Betty W

      My question to you is do you think then that religion should be kept out of government and public schools. No nativity scenes on public property. No prayer ever in school. Or should those be allowed??

      February 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Elena

      Uhhhhh Muslims sure as h-ll aren't allowed to murder their own offspring in this country like they do in the Middle East and Near East, so is that government overstepping its bounds and forcing the hand of religion? Since their religion says it's ok then it must be, right?

      February 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Austinisfull

      No one is forcing anyone to use birth control. Women would just like the option since they are paying for their health insurance thru their jobs. Why are Catholics so afraid of a woman who uses birth control? I still have never received an answer on that one.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Rationalintn

      FYI – the "left" also has Christians. Now you folks are going to cry "persecution" as a means to rally the "right". Common sense will prevail in this matter. Isn't the Catholic Church getting away with discrimination by treating its non-Catholic employees like they have to live by the church's (Dark Age) teachings. How is that not religious persecution? Placing the burden on people of other faiths to bend to the will of the Catholic way?????? In the end, it's really about money. The Catholic Church doesn't want to pay extra to offer the standard and reasonable level of health care that the majority of American businesses are required to offer employees.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
    • Discouraged Catholic

      First of all – check the definition of "Universal" – the purpose of health care reform is to ensure that all citizens of this country have access to reasonable health care. By 21st Century standards, birth control is a part of that package. Universal is universal, period/
      Secondly – if only the Catholics who have never benefited from birth control (either directly or indirectly) were allowed to vote on this issue, that would be a very small population of voters. Hypocrites!
      What about Scientologists and other religions that don't believe in any medical intervention? If we cow tow to the Catholics, what are employers to do with the employees who disavows modern medicine of any kind? Where do we draw the line?

      February 8, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
  7. TomCA

    Didn't the catholic church recently change its policy regarding contraception? I seem to recall reading that someplace. Perhaps it was just for people with STD's but that doesn't seem right. As I understand it the Caths. believe s3x is for reproduction alone and that is why they banned condom use.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  8. Rationalintn

    Why does the Catholic Church get to use religion as an excuse to discriminate against women? If they are running businesses that provide care to non-Catholics, and businesses that employ non-Catholics, why do they get to treat those people like they ARE Catholics?

    The Catholic Church lives in the Dark Ages.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • marie

      They are not discriminating! TO discriminate means give to others but not to some. Go buy the pills if you want it. THe issue of seperation between church and state MUST be honored! Obama promised to give the church an opt out and then flip flopped on it, so no onw is hurting anyone here. The church does not belong to the governement so the government can't dictate to it. Remember that war that was fought against the king some 300 yrs ago? Learn about it. It might help you in your decision making processes from this day forward.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Betty W

      Then they need to pay taxes. And not ask for any freebees from the government. I have no idea why they still get tax exempt status.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Andrew

      Discriminate against women, lol. Because a women has to pay for a pharmaceutical product she's discriminated against. Ha. Why is being made to play by certain rules of our economy discriminating against you. Your a radical off the wall feminist to believe that. Nobody's saying they can't have it, but is everything that is beneficial for you supposed to be free or your rights are violated.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • flyboy7588

      Hey Betty, did you get that bent out of shape when Comrade Jarrett was politicing in a black church a few weeks back?? Did you call for that church to lose its' tax exempt status?????

      February 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • BRC

      @Andrew,
      IT is not technically discrimination, but it would be an unjust and unfair practice. The government has signed into law a minimum standard of care to be provided by Health Care Insurance that is free to the recipient for all us Citizens. To say that a Church affiliated organization can opt out, "because they don't agree with it" denies the employees of that organization the rights of medical protection that have been signed into law. In effect, every other woman in America has BETTER protection than hte ones who workfor the organizations that "don't agree with it". that is unjust, and it is the restriction of personal rights by an outside body, which the Consttution defends against, and the government is menat to enforce that. Basically, it doesn't matter how the chuch feels, according to our founding laws, what matters is how the employees feel.

      If Contraceptives are really the issue, the churches are welcome to try to drum up support of the people to have letters sent to the government to have the law changed so that they aren't covered; but since it's pretty clear that the majority of US Citizens are FOR providing contraceptives, it's probably not going to happen, the Churches (all religions mind you), can get over it.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
    • Rationalintn

      marie – learn how to spell separation. FYI – I teach history, you don't want to go there.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
    • Discouraged Catholic

      Marie – you are so off base here. We fought for independence from Great Britain, and our country was founded on some very basic principles. Separation of Church and State was one of them. If our 'Secular Government' (that's for you, Newt Gingrich) passes a health care reform law, the Catholic Church should not be allowed to butt in and try to influence it.

      Another big one – the first amendment and freedom of religion. What does that mean, Marie? It means that I can practice the religion of my choosing without fear of persecution. It does NOT mean that a religious group has the right to impose its beliefs on those who are not members, in the name of freedom of religion.

      Basically, no matter how this is resolved, it's all about choice. We all should be able to choose to use birth control or not. Or,...... smart, hard-working women in this country can choose not to work for a Catholic employer.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  9. richunix

    Not going to get into the ills of the Catholic religion (outside the current news issues). But to put a finer point on it, they have lied to maintain power and lie to keep it. First off the word GOD is of the 6th Century (Germanic) so which GOD are you talking the GOD RA, ZEUS or AN? Trying to make your deity sound omi-important by omitting his name is mis-leading. Now to the point, the law is made to insure that ALL employers that offer health care make it available to THOSE who wish to use it. It does not force you to use it. Like of old the Church, lets lie and lie….until one day they will believe us.

    Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”

    Atheism is not a religion nor is it a belief.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Chris

      Atheism may not be a religion, but the belligerence with which your atheists go around proclaiming your belief – or unbelief – rivals anything the religious fundamentalists are capable of. Some day you will realize that it's the foibles of humanity, not religion – foibles that are ubiquitous in all human organizations – that you should be railing against.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
    • Chris

      And the Roberts quote may make for a good soundbite, but it doesn't hold up to closer scrutiny. You might as well claim that 0 is merely 1 less than 1, and therefore analogous – and yet, it's precisely the distinction between 1s and 0s that have founded the digital revolution. Bumper sticker reasoning achieves little more than stoking the ego of the one parading it.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  10. Unbelievable

    To "Catholic": BC prevents pregnancy in 1 of 3 ways, but the main way is that it prevents an egg from being released and thus it cannot be fertilized. Therefore, the 5th Commandment does not apply because there is no death involved. There is no egg, there is no child. So, I think many married Catholic women, like yourself, can sleep knowing their moral compass still points North.

    Women should access to health care, all forms of it, regardless of religion. If your faith teaches you that abortion is wrong then you won't ever have to worry about it being covered by insurance. If you think that BC is wrong, then you just won't be using that part of your plan. No one is forcing you to have an abortion or buy contraceptives. If the Catholic church hires non-Catholic employees, they should receive comprehensive care. The point is that women should have full access to healthcare because that is true freedom, not what the church allows them to have.

    One last thing that is extremely ignorant to me: When did pro-choice become pro-abortion? I believe in the right for women to choose how to live their lives and to come to terms with whatever decisions they've made with God (it is, in fact, their own personal relationship with him, not yours). I am for choice (rights, freedom) and against the denial of that freedom.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • meatsquat

      This is just stupid. The government is not making people use birth control. It is giving people coverage for birth control if they want it. It would be like being able to own a gun, but not owning one. Oh politics....why do you only speak to the idiots and zealots!

      February 8, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  11. skarphace

    ”Implementing the policy as is and allaying the concerns are mutually exclusive," Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, told CNN on Tuesday.

    Hmmm. I think he meant "mutually inclusive" here. Mutually exclusive means that they are completely separate issues.

    February 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • ialsoagree

      Mutually exclusive means they cannot both happen or be true.

      That something is entirely white and something is entirely black are mutually exclusive possibilities. It's either entirely white OR entirely black, not both. That's mutually exclusive, it can be one, but not the other.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • skarphace

      ialsoagree: I see what you mean. I read it wrong. Thanks.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
  12. Redwinghawk

    Rick Santorum and the Catholic Church MALE hierarchy wants to dictate to couples whether or not they will have children. Obviously, the Church's recommended "natural" method or rhythm method for birth control is a joke. This is the 1% dictating to the 99% again. Most of the couples in the Catholic church use birth control. Contraception use is a choice, just as any medical procedure is a choice. Health plans offer the option, and if couples do not want to use contraception, so be it, it is their choice. Health plans offer all kinds of choices which people may not opt for, it doesn't mean just because some people don't want to choose to use them that those same people should dictate for everybody else that they cannot have access to those options. The Catholic church needs to begin to deal with the world as it is. Their earthly leader, Jesus Christ, did not even live in a world where contraception as we know it existed. Today's religious leaders are making up policies on their own, based on their own self interest. The Catholic church leaders don't want contraception used, because they want the influence (and financial benefits) of the Catholic church to spread throughout the world – and the best way to do that is to have a lot of Catholic children who will continue to contribute to the church. Any young couple in the Church today should actively engage in this issue and let the Church know of their concerns.

    February 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Mike

      What is absurd is pushing progressive, rigid, beliefs and values on a religious organization.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • flyboy7588

      Hey Red, you're missing the point. This is about Obama and his Leftist ilk sticking their nose wherer it doesn't belong. Obama has no right to dictate to a private organization what they can or cannot do especially if it goes against their religious beliefs. Stop defending this Leftist punk.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • Andy

      Nobody is forcing anyone to have a job with the Catholic Church. If you don't like the benefits ask for them. If they decline, find a new job that provides the benefits you want.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Rationalintn

      If the Catholic Church wants to continue taking taxpayer dollars in the form of Medicare reimbursements to their hospitals and they want taxpayer dollars to run their universities, then they need to offer insurance coverage for contraception to their employees. They don't get to take taxpayer $$ and then cry foul, saying the government is overstepping. Stop taking taxpayer money and you can do what you want Catholic Church.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  13. Eve

    Priests as pedophiles, OK, insurance pays for Viagra, OK but no insurance for birth control?
    Absurd.

    February 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • Katie

      Because ED is a serious medical condition that needs to be treated or else men can DIE!!! Whereas childbearing and heavy periods and cramping are just something we women deserve for eating the apple.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Patrick

      @Katie
      Stop listening to your priest Katie and start listening to doctors. Complications from menstru.ation can be as serious as any ED.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Elena

      This makes perfect sense when you realize that all these bishops want is to keep women barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen. If we can't force our secularism on them, why should they be able to force their religion on us by regulating the types of healthcare we receive? I don't see any Jews murdering employees by refusing to allow employees access to donated organs since Jews have to be buried with all their own body parts. Why should Catholics get to murder female employees by forcing them to have unwanted pregnancies?

      February 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Austinisfull

      WowWow Katie...Sure glad someone like you still isn't in office. Still believing in that fairytale? This is 2012.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Discouraged Catholic

      I'm pretty sure Katie was being sarcastic – LOL!

      February 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm |
    • Katie

      Ha, yes, yes I was being sarcastic. I hoped that the ridiculousness of my statement spoke for itself, but I guess it's just a sad reality that there probably ARE people out there who would sincerely believe that.

      February 8, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  14. Mike

    Liberals and Progressives always want to point out how restrictive rules affect freedom, except when it's a restriction that they support. So, as Americans, we support freedom of religion as long as it is closeted and kept secret? If an organized religious group tries to push their beliefs on their own congregations and employees their in the wrong, but everyone else is able to push their beliefs and value system on these people and that's OK. There is a no more close minded and prejudicial individual than a liberal.....

    February 8, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
    • ialsoagree

      Lets be clear about the facts:

      People work under these religious establishments. The religious establishments are restricting THEIR rights, as people, to get certain medications. This bill establishes that these people's right to medication CANNOT be restricted.

      And now you're telling me that the bill *restricts* rights? Umm, no it doesn't. Religion isn't a person. People are people. This gives rights to people. If it takes rights away from a religious organizatino – who gives a s***? People >> Religious organizations 100% of the time.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • Diana Bitting

      You have that all backwards...the Catholic Church, acting as a business that serves all kinds of people, cannot take the rights of women away. What rights? The right to the same coverage that pays for contraception that all women should have...and interestingly enough, most all women use at one time in their life. Wanna know why? Because it makes sense....unlike the Catholic Church.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Patrick

      @.Mike
      This isn’t a restriction so your entire argument is invalid. It’s about OFFERING full care…as in ADDING more treatment options. Why are religious people so stupid?

      February 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  15. flyboy7588

    Obama is a Left-wing tyrant. Pray that he is thrown out of office this November. He is nothing but a puck @ss thug from Chicago who was brainwashed by his Left-wing loonie friend like Billy Ayers. What the heck were people thinking when they voted for this joker in 2008???? Do you honestly think Barry would be pulling a stunt like with with Islamic based health facilities?????????????? Come on people, WAKE UP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 8, 2012 at 12:56 pm |
    • brobin

      Your hate and ignorance makes me sad. I hope you don't influence children.

      February 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • BRC

      This does affect Islam affiliated health care facilities. It affects all employers, regardless of religious affiliation, but thank you for your unsubstantiated rant.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • richunix

      Does your trailer park manager know your using his computer again?

      February 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • flyboy7588

      Hey Brobin, I hope YOU don't influence children.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • David

      Out of meds ?

      February 8, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • flyboy7588

      Hey RichieUnix, tofu on the menu tonight? You appear to be just another progressive clueless idiot. Go kiss Barry @ss again.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • Patrick

      @flyboy7588
      You are the weakest link, goodbye.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
    • flyboy7588

      Patrick, let me guess. You're an Obamabot, right and you suffer from "White guilt" disease.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  16. Skyler

    Under the healthcare plan, does the Catholic church have to pay for contraception even if there are NO Catholic women willing to shirk doctrine and go buy contraceptives?

    February 8, 2012 at 12:53 pm |
    • Katie

      If no women in their organization, Catholic or otherwise, want to get contraceptives, then why would they have to pay for it? You can't cover something that isn't even there.

      February 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
  17. Katie

    So what if there was a Christian Science hospital, where they don't believe in ANY medication? Would the right be upset if Obama made them provide real medication to patients and workers?

    February 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • BRC

      Katie,
      That's not how this bill works. The Christian Science Hospital is well within its rights to sit around all day not using any medicine other than warm positive thinking, but they would be REQUIRED to provide their employees with insurance that allows them to go to a real hospital to get contraceptives. Noone has to do anythign they are morally opposed to, you just aren't allowed to stop other people from doing it.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Katie

      I appreciate the clarification, but that was kind of my point. Just as a Christian Science organization would have to provide insurance coverage for real medication, even though it goes against their beliefs, so are the Catholics now having to do so with contraception coverage. There's no infringement on religious rights here.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • BRC

      I agree completely, this is not a First Amendment issue.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
  18. alex chapman

    I take this as a sign that The Economy is on the mend. Let the Culture Wars resume.

    February 8, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • flyboy7588

      Hey Al, if you believe the economy is improving they I've got a bridge to sell you. Obama and his cronies are going to manipulate the unemployment numbers to their benefit. Don't be so naive.

      February 8, 2012 at 12:58 pm |
    • David

      Well said !!

      February 8, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
  19. Rstlne

    Quite frankly, I am sick and tired of all the special treatment and tax exemptions that religious organizations receive from our government. It is a personal choice to join a religious church/group/organization and not something that the rest of us should have to pay for. Why is it that people believe churches and religious organizations should get special treatment?

    The Catholic bishops and all other "outraged" people need to get over it. The ruling was correct and fair, and should be allowed to stand. I don't see any LOTR fans getting special treatment from our government, and yet their fairy tale is just as believable as any religion. Does anyone out there think that I should get special tax-exempt treatment if I create a LOTR type religion worshiping elves???

    February 8, 2012 at 12:50 pm |
    • jasie

      Obama has no right to dictate to the church.

      February 8, 2012 at 12:52 pm |
    • ialsoagree

      Of course he does Jasie, don't be so ignorant.

      February 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • Eliavaa

      I was taken by ambulance to a catholic hospital where they would not provide me with a medication that I had been taking for 15 years and was prescribed by my physician.

      Get the pope and all his child-rapists out of my healthcare.

      February 8, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
    • Patriot Awesome

      Jasie – He's not telling the Church what to do, he's telling the hospitals and other places of business that are run by the church what to do. These places employ people who are not all Catholic.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • brando

      jasie–the church has no right to dictate the will of the american people, i.e. the united states government.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • jimmy

      So what you saying is that the government could dictate what are you aloud to believe and what you should your believe system should be. So if Obama says you should worship him like a GOD you would be ok with that =)

      February 8, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • ialsoagree

      Jimmy, looks like you didn't understand at all.

      The catholic church is limiting the rights of people who work for the religious organization. The government has ruled that it CANNOT limit those people's rights.

      Sorry, but a religious organization is not a person. It does not have rights. And it cannot restrict the rights of the people working under it.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  20. Axel

    Answer: If you are against contraceptives, then don't take them. Problem solved; it's called free will. It's not fair for those who want them to be without.

    February 8, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
    • jasie

      but Obama cannot force a Catholic to purchase birth control or abortion pills which the church has been against for years.

      February 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • clarke

      to jasie – The President is NOT forcing people to purchase anything. However, if you want to purchase birth control pills, it is there for you.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Jack Be Humble

      What happens if a non-Catholic goes to a government funded Catholic hospital and requests contraceptives? I do not believe the issue here is that catholic women are being forced to buy contraceptives.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • helicohunter

      @jasie- So you think it's okay for the Catholic church to dictate how non-Catholics practice their faiths? Freedom of religion means that Americans should be free from coersion by any one religious group. By allowing Catholics to refuse paying for contraceptives, the government would be violating both freedom of religion and separation of church and state. If the Catholics don't like it, maybe they should get out of the hospital business.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • mdbill

      from what i've been reading no one is forcing any individual to buy or use any contraceptives at all. all the bill says is that if a catholic, or any other believer in anything, wants a contraceptive med then their insurance company has to pay for it. it's all up to the individual people, if you are a catholic and you don't want birth control then don't ask your insurance company to pay for it.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • BDM3

      The point is, Who is going to PAY for this? I don't want to pay for someone's contraceptives or abortion. The Government is forcing companies to provide healthcare that cover this. We will have to pay for it.

      February 8, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
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About this blog

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.