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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. TR6

    Have you ever noticed that it’s the people demanding that abortion is murder and abortion is the greatest evil in the universe and must be prevented at all costs (including the occasional murder of an abortion doctor), are the same ones that fight the hardest against contraception?

    It’s like being 100% against violence and murder; but, 100% against gun control…

    March 17, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  2. Nii

    If u think Black Africans r stupid just ask de British n French what it took 2 subdue de West Africans. 50yrs was all it took to gain back their freedom. The British ruled India for more than a 100 yrs. Next time u atheist put up billboard remember that. Also recall dat Black Africans fought WWI/II

    March 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    • Mike Hoare

      What brought that on? I see no posts accusing Black Africans of being stupid. I think you are stupid, and you have provided a very large amount of evidence to support that conclusion, but I do not extend that to all Black Africans.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Say What?

      So let me see if I understand you – before atheists put up billboards, they are to remember the British ruled India for more than 100 years, which proves that Black Africans are not stupid.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  3. Nii

    The reason why de Black African slaves hated their slavery so much was that urs was like being imprisoned which in their culture was humiliating. In W. Africa slaves had rights. In ur form it was owner does what he likes. They wud've taken over if u had continued importing n u wud know how it feels.

    March 17, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
    • Really?!?!?!

      Oh yeah, you are talking about the good forms of slavery. Gotcha. Great insight. That explains why, despite numerous references to slavery, the Bible never ever condemns it.

      Good to know that a black finds some forms of slavery acceptable,

      March 17, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  4. Ah....wait just a second

    Define "conception".

    a. sperm approaches egg ?
    b. sperm contacts egg wall ?
    c. sperm 1/2 way into egg ?
    d. sperm entirely in egg ?
    e. DNA of sperm contacts DNA of egg ?
    f. DNA replication begins ?
    g. DNA replication 0.567534521897 % complete ?
    h. 1st DNA replication complete, (poof..soul enters) ?
    i. 2nd DNA completes ?
    j. zygote forms ?
    k. zygote multiplies ?
    k. zygote begins to travel ?
    l. zygote approaches endometrial wall ?
    m. zygote touches endometrial wall ?
    n. zygote implants in endometrial wall ?

    Take your pick.

    March 17, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Ah....wait just a second

      woops, 2 k's

      March 17, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • Reality

      Human life begins with a bang but not quite the bang of the fusing of tritium and deuterium in a hydrogen bomb.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
    • Take another second if you like

      Actually, there are 3 Ks when you are talking about the fundamentalists.

      March 17, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • Ah....wait just a second

      When you're done with that, please define "moment'.
      Is that the pico second of conception ?
      And when you're done with that, please explain, (since we know from Einstein's General Theory of Relativity, that space-time is relative to speed/acceleration), who's moment you are talking about.
      Thank you for your cooperation.

      March 17, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  5. iamdeadlyserious

    When did "religious freedom" start including the right to force your beliefs down your employees' throats?

    You don't like birth control? Fine. Don't use it. You can't fire people for using it, so that means you can't complain if the insurance provider you use is required to provide it.

    None of the people complaining about this bill will be affected by it. Period.

    March 17, 2012 at 10:21 am |
    • Pete

      Right on,I'm catholic but I keep my thoughts on this out there because I get annoyed when old men,well past their prime get involved with an issue that they have no idea about.Ask them about the dispensing of viagra to prisoners in state and Federal prisons,what's that's for,I'd like to know ,because my tax dollars paying for prisoners erecton problems,how hypocrital they are.Let religious groups stick to religion or lose their tax exempt staitus,period.I'm tired of religious leaders telling their flocks who to vote for,or rail against,that's against the law,that should be punishable by law..Rules are there to follow,brake them,take your dose of IRS.....

      March 17, 2012 at 1:23 pm |
  6. AGuest9

    I need to start investing in a fully automated, high-volume crematorium. I think first, I will build a nursing home. These are growth areas in the economy.

    March 17, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 17, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • AGuest9

      Just lyin

      March 17, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • Jesus

      The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!!!~~~~~

      March 17, 2012 at 10:05 am |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things.

      Proven to cure cancer.

      March 17, 2012 at 10:50 am |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer changes things.

      Proven to cure cancer."

      No, you've been proven wrong and a LIAR! You are now condemned to hell.

      March 17, 2012 at 11:04 am |
    • Ah....wait just a second

      Good, when you get CA, you just stay home and pray.
      When you have your MI, be sure, and don't call 911.
      What a fool.

      March 17, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Scott

      @Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things:”Prayer changes things. … Proven to cure cancer.”

      Christians are the most hypocritical, lying bunch of duchbags I have ever heard of.
      They love to declare the power of prayer and that god will protect you and jesus is the good Sheppard looking out for his flock and that prayer is “proven to cure cancer” and to tell ever one else to trust in god
      But, the moment they get sick they run for the doctor and demand all the benefits of medical science. Most all of them have health insurance, life insurance, car insurance home insurance and every other kind of insurance they can buy. Instead of trusting to the protection of their god and the good will of their Christian neighbors to help them.
      No matter what they say about the strength of their beliefs or the miracles they believe in or claim to have personally witnessed, THEY ARE NOT ABOUT TO RISK THEIR OWN SKIN ON THE PROTECTION OF THEIR GOD or depend on the prayer they insist is so powerful.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
    • just sayin

      Several of you are responding to one of your own who stole the name. Atheists are such losers.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Prayer changes things
      Proven.

      March 17, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Scott

      @ just sayin:”Several of you are responding to one of your own who stole the name. Atheists are such losers.”

      And just sayin knows this is true because god personally told him so

      March 17, 2012 at 2:02 pm |
    • Jesus

      "Prayer changes things
      Proven"

      You've been proven a LIAR over and over again on this blog. What has been proven is prayer doesn't work. A great example is the christians that were sent to jail because prayer did save their children but modern medicine would have.

      March 17, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  8. AGuest9

    Time to go to the supermarket and be accosted by the people holding "Abortion is Murder" signs on the corner.

    March 17, 2012 at 8:57 am |
    • AGuest9

      And the drunken zombie apocalypse begins in earnest. Why do people feel the need to get drunk? Too much altar wine this morning, Mrs. O'Furniture? Please spare me the nonsense about "he chased all the snakes away with his shillelagh". This isn't Ireland, and no green beer and corned beef for me

      March 17, 2012 at 9:25 am |
  9. Nii

    My grandmum died at 99 in 1987 after 8 children. Another sister with 12 children died at 102 yrs in 2008. How did not using family planning reduce their lifespan? I have other examples too. I don't want us to be simplistic when it comes to family planning.

    March 17, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • AGuest9

      Overpopulation contributions. Fantastic.

      March 17, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      Nii: Just because it didn't affect their lifespan does not mean it doesn't affect other people. You're alsop speaking of people born in a day and age where the Mother stayed at home to raise the kids and multiple children were born to enable the parents to have helping hands. They also didn't have the pill back then. It depends on a lot of things, not the least of which in environmental issues. I know plenty of women who would rather pursue their careers than parent a child or those who would rather only have the expense of one or two extra mouth's to feed. The fact remains that it is no-ones business how a woman chooses to handle her body or personal life. If it doesn't directly affect you (not referring to you per say but in general), then it is simply falls in to the category of MYOB.

      March 17, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Nii

      African women have always been working mothers. My grandmum and her sisters were traders in general goods. They were always richer than their husbands. Also not having the pill didn't mean they didn't know how to prevent pregnancy. You have to be aware that miseducation kills as much as illiteracy.

      March 17, 2012 at 11:40 am |
    • TR6

      It’s too bad we have to depend on your memory and can’t ask them if they felt a few less children might have been a better idea

      March 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
    • Ann Ecdotal

      Nii,

      My grandmother died at age 47 after giving birth to 14 children... and I'll bet that there are more statistics leaning that way (early death) than the way of your relatives' longevity.

      March 17, 2012 at 5:51 pm |
  10. Mirosal

    So what gives a bunch of beanie wearing, supposedly virginal (hah!!) "MEN" (i.e. Cathlic bishops ... keep your sons away from them!!) the right to dictate what a woman can or cannot do when it comes to pregnancies, contraception, and children in general. Until they deveop a uterus, they ALL need to STFU. That goes for any purveyor of mythology (ministers, priests, imams, rabbis, whatever).

    March 17, 2012 at 8:07 am |
    • Varangian

      What gives the government the right to dictate whether or not a bunch of beanie wearing, supposedly virginal men must provide contraception for women, regardless of the reason they want it? Why must men who oppose contraception be forced to provide it at all?

      March 18, 2012 at 3:43 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      What gives the government the right to dictate whether or not a bunch of beanie wearing, supposedly virginal men must provide contraception for women, regardless of the reason they want it?

      >>It's the governments place to ensure that those hiring public workers provide the same coverage to them as they would anyone else. It's called equal rights. What business is it of those same beanie-wearing pedophiles what a person chooses to do with their body?

      Why must men who oppose contraception be forced to provide it at all?

      >>Se.xism is sick and detrimental to society. In case you have been too blind to comprehend this, it is not those men being forced to do anything. It is the insurance companies. It is the right thing to do and it does protect women's health issues beyond pregnancy prevention. What business is it of those men what a woman does with her body? No man will ever tell me (not even my husband) what I can or can't do with my body...I am able to think for myself and am not dependent on him to do the thinking for me. Why you can't comprehend this and live in the 21st century is sadly beyond any rational mind. Oppression of women is basically what you're asking for and it does not work any more. The year is 2012 not 1812...deal with it and keep your nose out of people's private lives.

      March 18, 2012 at 3:57 am |
  11. Colin

    Christianity is the belief that an infinitely-old, all-knowing being, powerful enough to create the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, has a personal interest in my $ex life.

    Atheism is the belief that the above belief is ludicrous.

    March 17, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • Nii

      Sorry but why do u tie atheism to Christianity like Argentinian pesos to the dollar. Atheism is a more advanced religion than that. In fact it is older than Christianity. I think you shud read more.

      March 17, 2012 at 8:20 am |
    • Mirosal

      Calling Atheism a religion is like calling abstinence a s-x position. I think YOU need to read more. Look up the actual definition of the word religion in a Merriam-Webster or Oxford dictionary, then explain just HOW Atheism is a religion.

      March 17, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • iamdeadlyserious

      Nii:

      Atheism is a religion like "Off" is a channel on TV.

      March 17, 2012 at 10:22 am |
    • Nii

      Mirosal we did that yesterday. The opposite of atheism is theism not religion. You don't have to have a god to be a religion either. As 2 being organised there r some animists who worship their own gods shared with no one else. We don't say they r non-religious. Religion's antonym is secular.

      March 17, 2012 at 11:48 am |
    • Nii

      If I look up dam, barrage and weir in a dictionary they give me similar definitions. In a civil engineering dictionary they are three very different things. Buy a theology dictionary not an English one for arguements on religion.

      March 17, 2012 at 11:52 am |
    • TR6

      @Nii:” Atheism is a more advanced religion than that. In fact it is older than Christianity.”

      Theists love to insist that atheism is a religion because they are desperate to bring atheism down to their level. They will never admit it; but, in their hearts they know atheism is more reasonable then theism and atheism holds the high ground

      March 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  12. TruthPrevails

    It never ceases to amaze me how ignorant the people against contraceptives are. Have none of you looked at what the world population is and how that within the next eight years it is predicted to increase by another two billion? Do none of you care that this isn't just about preventing pregnancy but is also about ensuring a woman potentially lives longer? It's time that people realized that the only one with a right to say what is proper to do with your body is you. No-one is forcing contraceptives on you, if you don't agree...don't use them but don't expect everyone else to follow your lead-some people actually care about the world they reside in and know that we are responsible for keeping it together.

    March 17, 2012 at 7:28 am |
    • AGuest9

      "No, because the good book talks about begattin', and Bubba sez we need the welfare money."

      March 17, 2012 at 8:50 am |
  13. Reality

    Only for the newbies:

    For printing in the next Federal Register:

    Guidance for women on how to care for themselves "contraceptually":

    FIRST-YEAR CONTRACEPTIVE FAILURE RATES- From the Guttmacher Insti-tute

    Percentage of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy (a few examples)

    Method……………..Typical

    Pill (combined)……… 8.7
    Tubal sterilization ……0.7
    Male condom ……….17.4
    Vasectomy…………… 0.2
    Implant..........................1.0
    IUD (Copper-T).............1.0
    (Masturbation mono or dual).............. 0

    Periodic abstinence.. 25.3 (RCC approved)
    Calendar.................... 9.0 (RCC approved)
    Ovulation Method....... 3.0 (RCC approved)
    Sympto-therma.......... 2.0 (RCC approved)
    Post-ovulation............. 1.0 (RCC approved)

    No method................. 85.0" (RCC approved and important to women wanting to get pregnant)

    (Abstinence)................... 0 (RCC approved)

    March 17, 2012 at 6:20 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      We might also add to this the fact that the USA has the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the world. Those wonderful abstinence pledges are useless!

      March 17, 2012 at 7:29 am |
    • Reality

      For parents of teenagers, please have them read the following followed by a frank discussion about se-x.

      The reality of contraception and STD control:

      Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...

      The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

      : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill ( 8.7% failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

      Added information before making your next move:

      from the CDC-2006

      "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

      And from:

      Consumer Reports, January, 2012

      "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

      Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

      "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

      Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

      March 17, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  14. Bo

    I may be a bit ahead of the blog posters, but in the news yesterday there was an article of a b.i.l.l.b.o.a.r.d that was put up just outside of Parisberg Pennsylvania, promoted by Er.nest P.e.r.c.e, an ex-minister that read: S.L.A.V.E.S, OBEY YOUR MASTER Colossians 3:22 This lesson brought to you by: THE YEAR OF THE BIBLE and the House of Representatives paid for by Americanatheists.org and PANonbelieving.org and was torn down by some Civil Rights Activists, because the message also displayed a picture of a N.e.g.r.o s.l.a.v.e in bondage.

    My question is: What is the purpose of atheists for displaying their messages on billboards and other means of advertisement? Is it make people aware that there are atheists. Is it to win converts? Are they offering some product? Just what are the atheist gaining?

    March 17, 2012 at 5:28 am |
    • AtheistSteve

      Conversely what is the purpose of religious affiliated propaganda billboards and signs? Is it to re-enforce a believers faith? Or to gain converts? Remember that religious iconography are far more prevalent than atheist ones. To answer your question the point behind atheist signage is not to win over the theists but to reach out to non-believers who more often than not are isolated from other like-minded people. When everyone around you is a believer it is a great comfort to find out that you're not alone.

      March 17, 2012 at 7:05 am |
    • AGuest9

      Why must I be forced to see Knights of Columbus billboards regarding abortion and christmas?

      March 17, 2012 at 8:52 am |
  15. Franklin Phillips

    If religion were banned and all of the believers were exiled to live on the surface of the sun, then the world would have fewer problems. You read it here first folks.

    FUCK BELIEVERS.

    March 17, 2012 at 3:25 am |
    • Yuppy Puppy

      No need – the are going to rapture away soon, because it is the end of times, where all tongues will bow and all knees will confess. There will be much gnashing of potatoes and wailing of buttocks.

      Unless the Muslims are right, in which case the Christians are doomed. But if the Hindus are right, then the Christians and Muslims will suffer the curse of karma, returning as syphilitic cockroaches again and again in the great chain of Samsara.

      Then again, if the Ancient Greeks anr Romans were right, then we are all doomed to a miserable afterlife that all mortals share, good or bad.

      But if the Aztecs were right, then the only people who don't go to the gloomy underworld Mictlan are those who die either in battle or childbirth.

      So to really do Pascal's wager right, if I am to not risk Hell, then I must convert to every religion ever known, then die in childbirth.

      March 17, 2012 at 3:51 am |
    • All the Frigg'n Myths

      Yuppy Puppy,

      Your heart is lighter than a feather. Surely Maat will send you to Aaru paradise.

      March 17, 2012 at 4:15 am |
    • Yuppy Puppy

      Oh crud – I forgot about that one. My soul has been snacking on a few too many pork rinds and needs to go on a diet to get backk down to featherweight. I'm a bit too busy converting to the Viking religion at the moment to start that diet, though. Can't rick not getting into Valhalla – gonna have to die in battle and be burned on a longboat, though. It's tough getting a lawyer to include that last part in a will.

      March 17, 2012 at 4:27 am |
    • O.S. Bird

      Yuppy Puppy: "There will be much gnashing of potatoes and wailing of buttocks." is one of the funniest things I've ever read. Bravo! Outstanding! I envy your wit. I'll use that line myself, if I may.

      March 17, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • TR6

      @Yuppy Puppy:” There will be much gnashing of potatoes and wailing of buttocks”

      Heaven must be a catholic school.

      March 17, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  16. Here Is What Is Really Going On

    Here Is What Is Really Going On

    This is a Red Herring issue, a emotionally-charged topic that gets people agitated and polarized, intended to get people to vote a certain way. However, Red Herring issues are usually irrelevant to the question at hand, namely, who has the best talents and ideas to lead this country forward for the next four years.

    The reality is that this non-issue is so far down the list of important policy items that it is effectively irrelevant to the elections. The real purpose is for the religions to agitate their parishoners into voting Republican, preferably Santorum.

    Look at you – all worked up. Is this more important than economic policy or foreign policy? More important than our forward strategies for wars and infrastructure improvement and so many other things that, unlike this "issue", the government IS supposed to be responsible for? Notice how the side that the right, who is driving this bickering, is not even discussing those true issues, much less presenting ideas to deal with them?

    You are being manipulated, Christians, and it is your own leaders doing it. Your leaders are grifters, and you are the marks.

    March 17, 2012 at 2:40 am |
  17. Michael

    Christians and religious freaks go die ok? You're a blight on society.

    March 17, 2012 at 2:14 am |
    • TruthPrevails

      I'm an Atheist and I think your comment is out of line!! Wishing them dead just gives non-believers a bad name and makes their stance stronger. I personally don't wish anyone dead. I do wish to see the end of religion but that does not include the people involved (most of who have been indoctrinated in it to the point that they are unable to escape for fear of being disowned).

      March 17, 2012 at 7:20 am |
    • AGuest9

      With posts like this, you are stooping to their level.

      March 17, 2012 at 8:54 am |
  18. allhaileris

    If liberals want to murder their unborn babies, why stop them? If we can pay a little extra to keep them from reproducing, that's money well spent. Where's the problem?

    March 17, 2012 at 2:05 am |
    • Peter Metz

      If right-wing evangelicals want to brainwash their kids into believing in a nonsensical and demeaning bronze age mythology, why stop them. It's called freedom of religion. Their children will be swept into the dust bin of history sooner or later anyway (just like their parents are being now).

      March 17, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • rodbinnc

      This is about birth control and contraception. Meaning it would stop people from having abortions. Or did God forget to give you the ability to read an article and comprehend it's substance.

      March 17, 2012 at 2:17 am |
    • GodPot

      For those with small brain syndrome who believe birth control is murder...

      "The birth control pill jumps into this relay system midstream, delivering two key s e x hormones that trick the brain into thinking the body is already pregnant. The pill uses the body's negative feedback system to prevent ovulation and implantation of an embryo, in the same way the hormones provided by the placenta halt the female cycle during pregnancy." – PBS.ORG

      There is a cure to small brain syndrome and it doesn't even require any pill to take, it's a simple diet of education and exercise, as in exercising your own reasoning skills instead of taking the verbal vomit thrown at you by your priest, pastor or Fox News pundit.

      March 17, 2012 at 2:27 am |
  19. Pay attention

    I'm going to need a religious exemption from paying for pre-natal, birthing and lifetime healthcare of millions of papists.

    If they get an exemption, I need an exemption.

    March 17, 2012 at 2:03 am |
  20. Alfuso

    So the abortion mills are in it for the moola? Cost for an average abortion is about $300. Approximately one million abortions a year. Do the math.

    Average cost to bring a baby to term – $10,000. Approximately four million a year. Do the math.

    March 17, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • Just Saying

      This is a logical fallacy. Abortion mills aren't paid to deliver babies. They are paid to abort them. Do the math.

      March 17, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • RillyKewl

      Which one of you two is the bigger dunce? Do the math.

      The cost of contraception is a million times cheaper than the cost of a child.

      March 17, 2012 at 2:26 am |
    • GodPot

      Stop trying to ruin a perfectly good false narrative Alfuso!! They know abortions are only 3% of planned parenthoods activity but they need their base to believe it's all evil because it's provides a safe environment for a women to get advice and aid apart from their religious conservative male heads of the household who are supposed to make all the decisions!! We can't have women thinking they are allowed out of the kitchens, it would be chaos!! Who would bring them cold beers or cook and clean for them while they are out hanging with the guys? Don't you liberals know whats at stake here!!

      Okay, I hope you caught the sarcasm, but sometime you Christians can't tell when you are being made fun of...

      March 17, 2012 at 2:38 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.