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Religious exemptions grow in contraception mandate
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says "the president's policy respects religious liberty."
March 16th, 2012
08:00 PM ET

Religious exemptions grow in contraception mandate

By Eric Marrapodi and Jessica Yellin, CNN

Washington (CNN) - The Obama administration announced late Friday two new steps in a controversial contraception mandate.

In an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking posted in the Federal Register, the administration offered several policy suggestions that would require the administrator of the insurance policy, not the religious institution or the insurer, to pay for contraception coverage.

The Obama administration also announced a new final rule on student health plans that effectively applies the contraception accommodation to religiously affiliated universities. This means students at religious universities that have moral objections can get contraception for free through their insurance providers. Schools have a one-year grace period before complying.

For religious institutions that provide their own insurance, the mandate opened the door to Americans to "formally comment on ideas for implementing this policy."

Sandra Fluke, the student who was at the center of a firestorm over contraception rules at her religious university, applauded the decision, saying in a statement, "I am very pleased that under these policies all women, regardless of what school they attend or where they work, will soon have affordable access to contraception."

The original mandate, enforcing part of the Affordable Care Act, included that insurers must provide, at no cost, all FDA-approved forms of contraception. Houses of worship have been exempted from the start, but now the administration is widening those exemptions to include other religiously affiliated groups.

Religious groups across a wide spectrum denounced the mandate, saying it infringed on their religious liberty. Most vocal was the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"The bishops will begin analyzing it immediately, but now is too early to know what it says," said Sister Mary Ann Walsh, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

"I'm surprised such important information would be announced late Friday on St. Patrick's Day weekend as we prepare for the fourth Sunday of Lent," she added.

The new regulation prohibits lifetime limits on contraception and covers preventive services without cost-sharing for students on a college or university health plan. The new rule outlines that religious colleges and universities will not have to "pay, arrange, or refer" contraceptives for students, according to a statement from the Department of Health and Human Services.

"The president's policy respects religious liberty and makes free preventive services available to women," Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in the statement. "Today's announcement is the next step toward fulfilling that commitment."

The White House held a Friday afternoon conference call with stakeholders outlining the new plan, according to a Democratic activist who participated in the call but was not authorized to speak on the record about it.

Joshua DuBois, the director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships, led the call, and Catholic health care and advocacy groups joined, the source said.

The extension of the religious exemption to colleges had been a major point of contention for many religious institutions.

"This is something the bishops should be happy about," said Steve Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America.

"I think the take-away from this is, it's clear the administration is serious about its efforts to address the concerns of the Catholic bishops and others as it relates to the insurance mandate."

In an effort to address concerns of religious groups that self-insure, the new rules suggest creating "an exemption for group health plans established or maintained by certain religious employers."

The policy continued with a suggested four-part definition of who might qualify. It says the group must have religious values as its purpose, primarily employ people who share those religious beliefs, primarily serve persons who share those beliefs and be a nonprofit organization.

When the preliminary rule for the contraception mandate was released last year, it had a different four-point definition for a religious organization. Religious colleges and charities were all but written out of the definition, so they would not be included in the exemption.

According to the source, the administration said it does not want the new definition used as a precedent for future policies and regulation, the source said.

"It should ameliorate some of their concerns," Schneck said of the bishops.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Conference of Bishops said in a statement that the fight over the contraception mandate was strictly a religious liberty issue.

"One particular religious freedom issue demands our immediate attention: the now-finalized rule of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that would force virtually all private health plans nationwide to provide coverage of sterilization and contraception-including abortifacient drugs-subject to an exemption for 'religious employers' that is arbitrarily narrow, and to an unspecified and dubious future 'accommodation' for other religious organizations that are denied the exemption," the statement read.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Politics

soundoff (695 Responses)
  1. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    What do you bet that if the same meds that prevent polycystic ovary disease and other maladies didn't also prevent pregnancy, every one of these misogynistic dolts would be all for insurance companies being forced to cover the costs of such drugs?

    The only reason these azzholes disapprove is because it has to do with S#X! That DIRTY ACT!

    March 16, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  2. Chad

    Will Christian Scientists seek an exemption to providing any medical care in their health care policies? Just Bibles and prayer rugs because you are defying the will of God by interfering with His will? Can I limit the uses of other forms of compensation such as pay and vacation time (no visits to Las Vegas or to buy alcohol)? The religious exemption is lunacy, effectively allowing an employer to control an employees choice of religious practices and that is whose religious freedoms are being violated.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Also, the 1st amendment clearly state that congress will pass no legislation prohibiting OR INCOURAGINGthe practace of religon, by giveing them an exemption on the law, they are passing a law that incourages the practice of this barbaric and brutal form of thought control.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  3. Heidi

    If you have a problem with a $5000 deductible required by your insurance company, blame the insurance company and take it up with them. It has nothing to do with birth control pills.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Agreed it is because they want there CEO and bord of directers to make 8 figure saleries. The medical field is suposed to be about helping people, not robbing the nation blind, I say this as a pharmacy tech mixing IV meds for nursing homes.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  4. mickey1313

    whyshould the 60% of americans who know there is no god have to suffer for the 40% who are stupid. It is so sad that the government is alowing the thiestic views of the few get in the way of healthcare for the many.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Chad

      I believe that about 80% of Americans believe there is a God. Odd but in western Europe (where they nominally have official religions) it is the opposite. But I think that most of the believers here abhor religion in government, so yeah it's about 30% of the population that are obnoxious religious, pretty much the Santorum fans.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  5. Christianity Sucks

    Every day, in every way.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Brandon Brown

      You're happiness would increase if you would give Jesus a chance, he suffered for you and his life was beautiful. If you'd just read the scriptures and go into them with a trusting heart.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sure. And Tinkerbell lives.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • Brandon Brown

      Tom, the writers of the Old and New Testaments never claimed to be lying, do them the common courtesy of reading them as you would a letter from one of your family members.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Brandon, but when you can PROVE they are wrong, then um, they are wrong. Eather due to know knowing, or much more likely due to pourposeful manipulation and flat out lieing. Every single "fact" in the bible can be disproved. There are historians who where prolific writers in Jeuruslem in the 1st century, Josephus was the most famous. He wrote an entire treatease on the differance between the 2 names Jesus and Hosana. He never mentioned that there was a jesus at the time that was claiming to be "hosana" or that there was a cult that believed said man was a massiah. It would be like someone in the 60's writeing about the differance between the names John and Jack (sometimes short for John, not always), and not mentioning the president who was noame ohn who had been shot to death. The bible is so obvously ficticous but so many stupid people choose to take it on faith. So sad.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • HereticX

      Word. The Vatican isn't interested in saving souls – it's all about growing the revenue stream. More babies means potentially more people to pass the plate to (or keep a fresh supply of alter-boys coming). Religions cry about people infringing on their beliefs, yet they think it's OK to impose their beliefs on everyone else. The Messiah was supposed to come and free Jerusalem from Roman occupation (note – Jesus failed to deliver this). When the empire felt there might be some advantage in 'joining' the movement, they took it over and wrote the 'book' defining what it was.... hundreds of years after they killed Jesus. All religions are the same – all bull to instill fear and have control of naive people – my way or face eternal damnation.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • HereticX

      Leviticus 20-9: "Anyone who curses his father or mother shall surely be put to death – for he has cursed his own flesh and blood."

      March 16, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Gaston

      That's not nice and it's not true as a blanket statement and I am an atheist. Plenty of wisdom and humanity in Christianity and some obnoxious stuff too. There is the story of the atheist who washes up on a desert island and finds a native reading the Bible. He makes fun of it but the native replies "If I hadn't read this I would be eating you right now."
      Dude: you could be getting stoned to death by the Taliban for writing that about Islam, don't be so hyperbolic.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Ah....wait just a second

      Brandon is SO dumb, that he thinks if the editors of the oral traditions, which were assembled into the New T texts, would actually claim to be lying, if they were. Jesus died, because the Romans had routine, standing orders, to just get rid of anyone who threatened the peace, and social order. There is a REASON, the Pax Romana lasted as long as it did. Jesus was a nobody, and almost no one noticed what happened to him.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
    • HereticX

      And just a few hundred years ago my mother, sister, or daughter could be hung for being a witch right here in America by God fearing Christians.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  6. rpratz

    Actually, there is a huge difference. As a statin patient, I take the drugs to prevent a cardiac-death event, which may occur despite the fact that I observe dietary restrictions, exercise and moderate my conduct to prevent such a cardiac event. Contraceptive use is not necessary to ultimate welfare of the patient. And it is certainly not a maintenance drug regime, . Trying to conflate the two is intentionally deceptive and demonstrates a profound misunderstanding of the issue!

    March 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Future Texas Doc

      I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Women with PCOS are at increased risk for endometrial cancer. Just like you take a statin to prevent a heart attack, I take birth control to prevent ovarian cysts, prevent pregnancy, reduce my cancer risk, etc.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
    • Chris

      Oral contraceptive prevent many painful, disabling, and in some cases deadly, diseases.
      Before taking the pill I had very irregular periods (every 21-35 days) that were getting more and more painful (I am talking about throwing up and curling up in pain on the floor or the ground and staying there for hours), and the bleeding was heavier and heavier. After several days like that I was anemic and without energy. This affected my schooling and my work. I could not plan vacations or even weekends away from home. I was handicapped.
      With the pill, I know exactly when I will have my periods. Pain is minimal (easy to hide from others). Bleeding is normal again. I am alive again.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • noneeded

      Sounds like you are taking a statin purely by choice thinking that it may help you live longer by avoiding or delaying a heart event, but it certainly is not needed to keep you alive or out of pain today. So why would you think it is more important for you to have this "choice' than it is for a woman that may need the medications she takes for conditions unique to a female? Also, if we are covered by the same insurance plan, why should my premiums go to cover this choice of yours?

      March 16, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • rpratz

      No, I take it the statin as prescibed by my physician. It is not a choice as to whether I wnat to take it. I have been told to do so.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • Chris

      No, I take it the oral contraceptives as prescibed by my physician. It is not a choice as to whether I wnat to take it. I have been told to do so.

      So your doctor's orders are golden and mine are just for fun?
      I just replaced "statins" by "oral contraceptives" in your sentence.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • rpratz

      A comment I previously made with respect to treament of demonstrable and existing conditions not related to pregnancy prevention did not make it to the postings. If you need a drug to treat a condition, then it shoudl be covered. If you need to prevent a pregnancy and a plan doesn't cover it for a Consitutionaly protected reason, then pay for it yourself!

      March 17, 2012 at 12:12 am |
    • Chris

      @ pratz... how do you diagnose horribly painful and heavier than normal periods? I explained the symptoms to my OBGyn and she prescribed the pill. There is no test other than walkng or driving to my OBGyn's office when the periods happen. Several problems with that:
      – I had such irregular periods that I could not predict when it would happen more than a few hours ahead.
      – It is impossible to get an appointment with my OBGyn at the last minute.
      – An OBGyn will typically not examine you when menstruating because the view is rather blinded by the blood.
      – The pain was so bad I could not stand up or even sit up – even less walk or drive – during my periods. And Midol was a joke in those situations, it only works for mild cramps.

      My only solution with your proposal would be to call 911 and take an ambulance to the ER to get checked and then go see my OBGyn to get a prescription. Or I can collect all my pads and tampons and mail them to you so that you can decide how much bleeding is too much bleeding.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:23 am |
  7. sumguy

    Im guessing here.... but, Catholics are more likely to have more kids than they can afford, and wind up on some sort of public assistance. Guess what, alot of those Catholics wind up cost the taxpayer more than the cost of birth control. It is irresponsible the have kids you cant take care of on your own.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • rpratz

      Quit guessing! Unless you can cite authority to support your allegations, they are merely specious statements without merit!

      March 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • sumguy

      Every been to a welfare office in Los Angeles? Come see for yourself....

      March 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • rationalfew

      That was once true.. However, currently 98% of catholic women are on, or have used, birth control. That's why catholic's on average only have 2 children now days. I'm surprised the repubs and church aren't screaming about coverage for vasectomies. Aren't they just as bad in their eyes? Multilating ones body and birth control////

      March 16, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • rpratz

      Really? That's your authority? LOL!!!

      March 16, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
    • Kevin

      Unsubstantiated prattle.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • sumguy

      I say again, come see for yourself. You can hide behind the authority, statistics, whatever... Come on by and see for yourself.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • mickey1313

      rpratz, it is not a guess, look at the numbers. Look at the sheer number of people who are the highest rate of devoute christians in the nation, that would be lower income blacks and latinos, then look at there astronomically high birth rate. You do not see well educated intilagent people with 6+ kids. Only those who CHOOSE to get there learning from the bible do such stupid things. I dont think you should be judged based on your religon, BUT I do believe that anyone with 1 child or more who wants ANY form of government aid should have to undergo mandatory sterilazation. The tax payers should not pay so the thiests (or anyone eltse) can breed.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • sumguy

      @mickey1313 its is not a race issue, its about a willingness to be led along blindly by your faith and not applying common sense.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  8. dave

    One step forward, 100 years back.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Such is life with the extreme "right".

      March 16, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  9. Been there had problems with that

    Birth control pills can also cause a miscarriage for some if taken at the wrong time. At one point in my early twenties I was told I was not pregnant but because of an irregular cycle that I should start taking birth control pills immediately. 4 weeks later I miscarried a 10 to 12 week old fetus. I cried as I held this seemingly perfect dead baby in the palm of my hand. The following day I was told by my quack of a doctor that there was no possible way I could have miscarried because the pregnancy test was negative. Two years later when I became pregnant again, I was 6 months pregnant and had 2 ultrasounds showing a baby before I had a positive pregnancy test. Hormones are not something to be toyed with especially on young still developing bodies.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • rationalfew

      So what? That's one in a million.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
    • CRC

      So "rationalfew", lets be rational here. If one murder in one million is Ok with you, why couldn't that single murder have been you instead of who it was? You can't think very rationally can you?

      March 16, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • mickey1313

      so you are the small fraction of 1%, that makes you as stistical anomaly. The problems like these that arise from BC pills, or shots, are far smaller then the adverse side effects of almot every other med on the market.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Chris

      CRC, so you would refuse treatment to thousands of women with polycystic ovarian syndrome, dysmenorhea, or endometriosisi becasue there is a rick in a million this could induce a miscarriage?
      You do know that treatments for cancer or rheumatoid arthritis (to cite a couple) can also induce miscarriages? Should we ban all women in their reproductive years (roughly 13 to 45 years old) to takes such treatments because there is a potential risk to a potential embryo?

      March 16, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Ah....wait just a second

      So your poor choice of a quack has what to do with this topic ?

      March 16, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  10. petemg

    And voting is getting down to this while the economy is bleak. This is so sad.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Where are we going in this handbasket?

      March 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Gaston

      EXCELLENT point, like the Tea party nearly crashing the US credit rating by refusing to raise the debt limit unless Planned Parenthood funding is cut. Like passing idiot laws against Sharia law in Oklahoma. Just an endless bunch of sideshows to entertain cranks.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
  11. JanetMermaid

    No one, especially no woman, should vote for a single Republican this year. NOT EVEN ONE. NOT EVEN LOCAL.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • sharky

      LOL No worries there. I won't vote for Obama either. LOL

      March 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • rationalfew

      I can't imagine a woman even considering voting for a Repub.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Volleydan

      Fortunately not all women are prone to overly dramatic responses to overly politicized issues as you seem to be.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:45 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Agreed, but I would take it further. People need to understand, that if they make under 200k a year (thats like 90% of america) then any votes for a republican, and it was been this way for 20 years, is a vote directly against your own best interests. People need to read, and research before they vote. If they are to stupid or uninformed to do that, they should not vote. And anyone who votes due to a canidate religon is foolish, all politicians lie, just look at aledged christian g. bush jr. How many people lost there lives directly due to this mad mans choices.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  12. Andrew

    Put vascectomies on the line or STFU.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • elvisisallah

      For sure.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  13. Cheyla

    Until religious exemptions are removed from US laws, then no woman is safe from discrimination. Churches need to obey the law and pay taxes just like every other business.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • rationalfew

      Absolutely agree!

      March 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • sharky

      All right so then there is no separation of church and state anymore is what you are asking for. You want churches to pay taxes ok, they then get a voice in the "state" or Government. Only fair.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Looking at this sad episode, it appears that they already HAVE a voice in it.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • mickey1313

      sharky you are flat out wrong. They (churchs) make a profit, just look at the buildings, the places the leaders live ect, thus THEY ARE NOT NON-PROFIT. Also it has been proved 100's of time that churchs (most of them) break the law by advising there followers how to vote, that is illigal. It is a privalage to be an NPO, not a right, if they violate that privalage then they loose them that is all there is to it.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
  14. Rob

    1. This deal is like having Best Buy providing us with big screen TV's because it is good for our vision. Someone else is paying for our health which is our responsibility.

    2. Do we need to increase our costs of healthcare for all to cover $10 a month, and instead put a $5000 cancer victim so they can afford coverage. Yes those getting this for free are causing harm to others who are payind for you!

    3. This is still abortion as the sperm already is joined with the egg. This prevents an attachment in the uterus.

    4. Health administrators will rneed to raise the administrative fees for this option, and in fact the church would be paying for it but it will be labled something else.

    5. Is the government saying those born to parents in the past tha couldnt affor birth control should not be here and to leave?

    March 16, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
    • Rob

      2. Do we need to increase our costs of healthcare for all to cover $10 a month, and instead make a cancer victim pay a $5000 deductible so they can afford coverage. Yes those getting this for free are causing harm to others who are paying for you!

      March 16, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • LMC

      Your statements are rather strange and you obviously don't understand how contraceptives work. Contraceptives (including IUDs) PREVENT sperm from fertilizing the ovum (egg). Obviously no one is suggesting that any live humans leave because their parents didn't use birth control. What ever would give you that idea?

      March 16, 2012 at 10:24 pm |
    • Future Texas Doc

      1. Beneficiaries pay for access to medical care. That's the point of health insurance. Asking your insurance company to cover a basic, inexpensive, preventative medication is not being irresponsible.
      2. Birth control is cheaper than babies. I've seen estimates that say for every $1 spent on birth control, $4 are saved overall (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/08/us/texas-womens-clinics-retreat-as-finances-are-cut.html?_r=3&hpw). Please cite the sources that say cancer patients will no longer be treated b/c of covering birth control.
      3. The main mechanism of action of birth control is due to progesterones, which alter the pulse of release of GnRH, which prevents ovulation. No ovulation = no egg. Progesterone is also believed to make cervical mucus more impermeable to sperm. Birth control is NOT abortion.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • rationalfew

      That $10 a month will save millions in welfare payments for an unwanted child.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • rationalfew

      Hey Rob... Who's going to take care of the pregnant women and unwanted children? The church? Maybe like they handled the Magdalene Laundry's.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • elvisisallah

      Rob might adopt one? Not likely though, to busy with his fairy tale god.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Rob

      Insurance = unforseen event.

      I can skew numbers any way you want.
      The stats generally don't account for those age ranges with complications vs those yonger female with a larger probability of taking the pill. They also don't account for someone that would have another child, if they already didn't have one.

      Also some med facts quoted are wrong. .

      March 16, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
    • Rob

      So your saying I shouldn't have been born. Thank You

      March 16, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Russ

      Wrong. Birth control controls when a woman ovulates. The egg and sperm do not unite. Also, if women can't receive birth control, many times more serious things can result, which would cost the taxpayer much more.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Heidi

      If the insurance companies had their way, NONE of us would have any coverage at all! Does anyone here even wonder how many people post comments in these sections that WORK and LOBBY for insurance companies?

      March 16, 2012 at 10:44 pm |
    • Kelly

      Some female methods of birth control (including the birth control pill/patch/shot and IUDS) do not only attempt to prevent an egg from being released or stop the sperm from reaching the egg. They will prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall. IUDs generally irritate the uterine wall and hormonal methods will often prevent the build up of the uterine wall and therefore make it less ready for a fertilized egg. Whether or not you agree preventing implantation of a fertilzed egg is wrong, that is something that birth control does.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Chris

      @ Kelly... many anti-cancer drugs, or methotrexate for rheumatoid arthritis will kill an embryo. Do you think churches should not allow insurance coverage for any women in their reproductive years? You, because it could kill an embryo.
      But men would be allowed cancer treatment if needed of course, and insurance premiums paid by women would still cover that for men. Just not for incubators (well, I mean women, the animal around the incubator).

      March 16, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Future Texas Doc

      Kelly, you are correct that some types of birth control act primarily by preventing attachment of the embryo, but you have way overstated which ones. An IUD without progesterone works primarily in this way. Combination birth control pills and patches work in the way I described previously. "Mini pills," or progesterone only pills and Depo Provera (shots) work by suppressing ovulation, thickening cervical mucus to make it less permeable to sperm, and inhibiting implantation. An IUD with progesterone is also going to thicken cervical mucus and decrease sperm capacitation & survival along with preventing implantation.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  15. Sagebrush Shorty

    Any fool can make a rule. Except for Congress of course.They are apparently incapable of anything .

    March 16, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
  16. Dante Gateson

    The church people are all nuts. Nonetheless, it's amusing political theater to watch the President and his fellow politicians dance around and arrange all the smoke and mirrors. The parties paying the insurance premiums are ultimately paying for the contraception, regardless of who actually writes the final check to pay for it. The money ultimately comes from the premiums.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
  17. paganguy

    The victims of Catholic Bishops do not need contraceptives; they are boys.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • rationalfew

      Who listens to that pack of fools anyway?

      March 16, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  18. Bill

    So with all of the things that need fixed right now, this is what the current administration is spending time on? Very disappointing.

    March 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • John

      Uh, Bill? It's the Repugs who are bringing up this nonsense, not Obama.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • LMC

      If Republicans weren't attacking women's rights, the administration wouldn't have to worry about it. Thankfully there is a party that cares about women!

      March 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • mickey1313

      Um do you read the news at all, this is all the GOP trying to tout there moral high ground. Unfortunatly, they do not realize that when you strip people (not companies, but real people) of there rights, they are not on the moral ground.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  19. b4bigbang

    @hawaii guest, what Bible passage forces women to marry rapists?

    March 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Atheist in FL

      Deut. 22:28 If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and lay hold on her, and lie with her, and they be found; 29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he may not put her away all his days.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • elvisisallah

      the bible? people still read that? wierd

      March 16, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • b4bigbang

      Upon reading the whole chapter i see where the law in that particular passage is coming from. If you read the entire chapter, you get insight into the culture's mindset.
      1) The only thing worse than being unmarried back then was to be unmarried AND not a virgin.
      2) Losing virginity before marriage guaranteed spinsterhood for life ("damaged goods").
      3) If the guy's willing to cough up the silver to the Dad, it proves he's at least at that point willing to be law-abiding and also has a means of support, so he's not like some of the ghouls we have roaming the strees today.
      4) Since the Jews in question lived together in a locale, you can bet that Daddy and her brothers are watching the guy like a hawk, lest he be a wife-abuser.
      5) If this law hadn't been enacted, Bronze age Israel would've seen a lot of family blood-feuds like happens in Afghanistan today.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Bobs Friend

      I didn't see anything there that indicated that she was unwilling. This appears to be about premarital s. e, x.. i.e... you break it (the hymen) you bought it.

      March 17, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  20. Rob

    Please force all Fast food workers to pay for my brocolli I need to get free with every visit, so I am healthy. The government should mandate this! It IS the exact same thing. The lack of education in our society is now presenting itself ten fold.

    March 16, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Bootyfunk

      i agree about the lack of education, but would include you in that field. you're really comparing women's health issues to wanting a side of veggies. that is a terrible analogy. try harder next time.

      March 16, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • gerald

      Bootyfunk, no its not. People have more of a right to food and clothes than to contraceptives. So why shouldn't the gov buy everyone's food?

      March 16, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Bob

      You're more than a little confused, gerald and rob. These are insurance plans, not "the government".

      But you look kind of cute with your head all covered in tinfoil, morons. Please go whine along with Rush Limbaugh someplace else. North Korea and Iran would be appropriate.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Says who? Who says "rights" have any bearing at all on this, you nincompoop?

      March 16, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • ksmary

      Rob and Gerald, if giving the customer broccoli would reduce the overall cost of doing business, your local fast food place may see it as a good thing. That would especially true if they could still charge the going rate for the food they sell. That is a more accurate comparison to the contraception issue. It costs the insurance company much less to cover the cost of 'the pill' than to cover the pregnancy and the birth of a child, especially in a difficult birth or birth of a sickly baby.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Future Texas Doc

      Rob and Gerald, you should also realize that under the current system, many women are paying for health insurance that fails to meet their basic health needs.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:15 pm |
    • Amy

      When are people going to realize that contraceptives are used for WAY MORE than just preventing pregnancy?!?! Leave to men who have to f'ing clue about it! Stay out of things you DO NOT understand!

      March 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • Rob

      It is insurance. How is knowing you need the pill every month to prevent pregnancy an unpredictable event.
      If it is for medical reasons, it should get a copay just like all other drugs.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:25 pm |
    • CMoses

      ksmary, then it should be left up to the insurance company to make that decision, not be made for them. The government is forcing one set of values on everyone rather than letting different insurance companies and self-insurers make their own policies to meet the needs and desires of their customers and employees.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Hmmm. CS. that sounds really reasonable. Suppose said companies decide not to cover cancer treatments for smokers? Or diabetes medication for fatties?

      March 16, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • AGuest9

      @CMoses: Two points. 1.) Anything "left up to the insurance company" means that it will not be covered. Have a pre-existing condition? Sorry, you end up on disability costing us taxpayers more. 2.) "The government is forcing one set of values on everyone". This is called equality. People wanted it decades ago based upon the color of their skin. A century ago, women wanted it to vote. People who are handicapped are demanding it now.

      March 16, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • mickey1313

      it is a lack of education, ON YOUR BEHALF. You might have posted one of the most arogant ignorant comments I have ever read on CCNN, and there are ALOT of ignorant comments.

      March 16, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Gaston

      Yeah I know it is stupid but we had to the require the fast food places to provide free broccoli because people need broccoli and their employers control them by refusing to pay for it because it offends the Great Tomato of their religion. Don't worry though, the fast food places save big bucks overall by providing the broccoli.

      March 17, 2012 at 9:07 am |
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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.