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Catholic Bishops not satisfied with Obama’s contraception compromise
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Thursday rejected the Obama administration’s revised mandates on contraception.
February 7th, 2013
03:34 PM ET

Catholic Bishops not satisfied with Obama’s contraception compromise

By Dan Merica, CNN

Washington (CNN) – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops does not support the Obama administration’s revised proposal for providing insurance coverage for contraception, saying it falls short of addressing concerns about religious freedom.

In a response to the policy update announced last week by the Department of Health and Human Services, the church leaders said the policy offers “second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education and Catholic charities.”

“Because the stakes are so high, we will not cease from our effort to assure that healthcare for all does not mean freedom for few,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the conference, said in a statement. “We will continue to stand united with brother bishops, religious institutions, and individual citizens who seek redress in the courts for as long as this is necessary.”

Although the bishops identified the changes as a step in the right direction, they made it clear that they were not satisfied.

The proposed guidelines would allow religious-affiliated organizations opposing contraception to opt out of a federal mandate requiring that they provide their employees with insurance coverage for birth control.

The policy would give women at non-profit, religious-based organizations, like certain hospitals and universities, the ability to receive contraception through separate health policies at no charge.

CNN Belief: Obama proposal would let religious groups opt-out of contraception mandate

Following an uproar among religious institutions that didn't want to pay for contraceptives, the administration in March offered several compromise alternatives. The plan unveiled on Friday was a result of that effort.

The proposed update continued the administration's attempts to resolve the contentious issue of how non-profit organizations can decline to provide contraception coverage to their employees on religious grounds without facing a penalty.

An original mandate on providing contraception was part of the new federal healthcare law spearheaded by Obama, the Affordable Care Act. It required that insurers provide, at no cost to those insured, all forms of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

A number of high profile lawsuits have been filed against the federal government on the issue, including from the craft store giant Hobby Lobby.

CNN Belief: Hobby Lobby faces millions in fines for bucking Obamacare

A group of 43 Catholic organizations challenged the rules in federal court in May.

In Thursday’s announcement, Dolan also said the change in policy showed a “disregard of the conscience rights of for-profit business owners.”

As part of the new initiative, groups that are insured - such as student health plans at religious colleges - would be required to let their insurer know that certain participants would like contraception coverage.

“The insurer would then notify enrollees that it is providing them with no-cost contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies,” the HHS statement on the policy said.

Although the agency has not estimated final costs of the plan, it said that offering free coverage would actually lower expenses over the long term, partly due to improvement in women's health and fewer childbirths.

CNN Belief: Catholic groups sue over federal contraception mandate

Because the insurer would be covering the costs, the administration hoped the changes would allow religious organizations morally opposed to contraception to avoid paying for it.

The updated rules proposal will be open for public comment through April 8. The administration would then decide whether to make it final.

The Catholic Bishops indicated in their statement that they look forward to working with the administration on the final policy.

“We welcome and will take seriously the administration’s invitation to submit our concerns through formal comments, and we will do so in the hope that an acceptable solution can be found that respects the consciences of all,” Dolan said.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Health care • Politics

soundoff (482 Responses)
  1. Dave Harris

    These holy guys are so holy, that even having the government, at no charge to them, provide coverage for birth control for their non-Catholic employees is an offense to their increasingly bizarre religion. Imagine how it must irk them to see non-Catholics who don't work for them get coverage from the government. Or even Catholics, for that matter, who almost all disobey them and use birth control anyway, with or without goverment help. I mean, birth control? Who even thinks this is 'controversial' anymore? These guys are on another planet.

    February 9, 2013 at 12:56 pm |
  2. Deist for POS

    Imagine, if you will, if those scary old men made up the laws for the whole country?

    February 9, 2013 at 7:58 am |
    • %$#@^%$#@

      That would be hell aye.

      February 9, 2013 at 8:54 am |
  3. Bring Bush Back

    Obama's ignorance and arrogance has already deeply divided America. Can't wait to see what the clueless wonder does with his second term. Maybe he will try to force evangelicals to have abortions. Or allow equal rights to p3d0philes. Hey with him you never know...

    February 9, 2013 at 7:19 am |
    • Jill-IN

      You are clueless and not even a wonder.

      February 9, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • Dave Harris

      The black helicopters will be arriving at your trailer park tonight to make you have an abortion. Good thing you've got all those assault rifles.

      February 9, 2013 at 1:00 pm |
  4. gg

    What! you mean the catholic church still has a voice? Why? That pedophile ring, along with those who hid the disgusting acts on trusting young children has forever lost it's influence. It's about time they go away. It must be close to the time for this plague to end. Too many are poorer, humiliated, violated and turned off from learning about God due to this false religion.

    February 9, 2013 at 4:02 am |
  5. niknak

    Obama's contraceptive compromise not happy with Catholic Bishops.

    February 9, 2013 at 1:29 am |
  6. Cat Holic

    Old bishops have no need for contracepts why must they pay. Viagra is given free.

    February 9, 2013 at 12:28 am |
  7. MO

    What happened to SEPERATION of church and state? No laws should be passed or not passed on theology. The state is interested in religion. This is how the law does NOT impede on your religion- you DON"T use the service the insurance is providing and that way you are also not infringing the rights of someone else who does want the service. And the service is LEGAL (birth control/abortion in the 1st trimester). Your religion should not prevent a LEGAL procedure, that violates MY rights. And since there is a seperation of church and state- my legal RIGHTS come before your RELIGIOUS views.

    February 9, 2013 at 12:23 am |
  8. Reality

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    February 9, 2013 at 12:19 am |
  9. Really

    Another desperate attempt by the Catholic Church of Pedophilia to grow it's shrinking flock and replenish it's cash reserve. Bleeding cash, The Catholic Church will soon install ATM's at all church entrances.

    February 9, 2013 at 12:12 am |
    • Dippy

      Its, not it's.
      ATMs, not ATM's.

      February 9, 2013 at 12:19 am |
    • Really

      Thanks Dippy.

      February 9, 2013 at 12:26 am |
  10. please click the following internet page

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    February 8, 2013 at 10:00 pm |
  11. Ourania

    We are not a Theocracy!!! The Catholic Church needs to put their house in order with the priests that ruined children's life before they impose their"morality" to others. Enough!!!If they do not like it they can return to the Vatican!!!

    February 8, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
  12. mickey1313

    People need to remember. The law states you have the right to believe what you want and practace the faith you want. It does not say you have the right to inflict your beliefs on others. The church, if it wants to spout their openion, needs to be taxed to the hilt. 99.9%, then they can run there mouths.

    February 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
  13. Terry

    The whole Catholic new catechism thing that the Vatican has been trying to push isn't taking hold with the new generation. Former and potential young Catholics have moved on to greener pastures: other religions, or nones. Dying religion on its way out, views matter less and less. Just sleazy old bishops grasping at straws and trying to seem relevant. Won't be around much longer.

    February 8, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
  14. Ted

    junior is our least favorite troll's latest name.

    February 8, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Must have bedsores from sitting on its azz 24/7 to post inanity.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • junior

      must have

      February 8, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
  15. Norm

    The Roman Catholic Church should have treated their own women in religious orders better long ago, then they would have the teaching orders and nursing orders to staff the parochial schools and hospitals instead of hiring laypersons who live in the real world. Wouldn't it be interesting to see how much viagra and cialis is purchased by the clergy. If you think they don't your kidding yourself.

    February 8, 2013 at 7:28 pm |
    • junior

      keep weaving fiction. It helps your complexion

      February 8, 2013 at 8:13 pm |
    • Ted

      A lot of priests look overly ruddy.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • junior

      what is overly?

      February 8, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • Ted

      What is a dictionary?

      February 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • junior

      humor me

      February 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • Tom

      the catholic church needs to update their beliefs or loose relevance

      February 8, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      It is impossible for a religion to update their fundamental beliefs. There are gods or there are not. The jesus myth is true or is not. The Babble is true or is not. Any variance on these subjects would destroy a cult.

      February 8, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
  16. Sirpluss More

    It's good that at least the bishops understand human freedom and responsibility. Rather stunning that Americans who pay such lip service to their vaunted traditions and individualism are such weak-kneed push-overs when some government tells them what they will do whether its moral or not. Pregnancy an illness and children a disease? It takes an awful large dose of cowardice to just shut your eyes and hide silently in the background in the face of these travesties of life. Real mousey stuff. Talk is soooooo cheap.

    February 8, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
    • Terry

      You are sooooooo Less.

      February 8, 2013 at 7:14 pm |
    • Really

      The Bishops, along with the Pope, are responsible for harboring Pedophiles. The Catholic Church cares more about money than people. Quit defending and supporting child molesters.

      February 9, 2013 at 12:44 am |
    • HotAirAce

      700,000+ believers per year in the USA have abortions. How many are excommunicated for having an abortion? Who are the real hypocrites when it comes to abortion? Why can't your god stop even "his" own cult members from having abortions?

      February 9, 2013 at 12:50 am |
  17. Cathy

    The Catholic church needs to get their own house in order and stop trying to force their religious beliefs on their employees. This pathetic group of old, celibate, out of touch men has no place in dictating women's medical decisions.

    February 8, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • junior

      It has every right to defend life.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:14 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why? So their priests can abuse it?

      February 8, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • Kathy

      junior, just like it defended Hitler

      February 8, 2013 at 8:16 pm |
    • junior

      You don't read much do you? Must have failed every research project growing up.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • Terry

      The whole Catholic new catachism thing that the Vatican has been trying to push isn't taking hold with the new generation. Former and potential young Catholics have moved on to greener pastures: other religions, or nones. Dying religion on its way out, views matter less and less. Just sleazy old bishops grasping at straws and trying to seem relevant.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      As if junie ever wrote a research paper of more than 2 pages, double-spaced, in 14-point Helvetica.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:23 pm |
    • junior

      actually Times NEW ROMAN, get it? such a knee slapper. Thanks for the humorous reference

      February 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Don't quit your day job, Shecky.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • junior

      What does Shecky mean?

      February 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Try to figure it out, moron.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • junior

      And here I was hoping for the kindness of strangers

      February 8, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
    • junior

      seriously, what is shecky?

      February 8, 2013 at 8:29 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      FIgure it out, Blanche.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:30 pm |
    • junior

      Were Blanche and Schecky your favorite sitcom characters? Now we are getting somewhere.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • junior

      Serously, what is Schecky?

      February 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm |
    • Tom

      Agreed!

      February 8, 2013 at 9:23 pm |
  18. Scholar

    The courts may have the decision thrown to them. In that case, the separation of church and state can create a firm line beyond which the religious freedoms of the First Amendment cannot reach due to the prohibition against the government treating religions specially in all cases such as businesses.

    The government cannot treat businesses specially that claim special treatment due to religious reasons. To do so invites such special treatment without bounds and place in government hands the decisions of what is religion and what is not, and what is a valid religion and what is not. Therein lies a danger to so-called legitimate religions, that they could become diluted by strange people creating new religions just to gain advantages in running businesses with special religious exemptions from government laws and regulations.

    February 8, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
  19. JLS639

    It goes against our conscience because their is an all-wise, all-powerful universe spanning being that gets angry when a man puts latex on his member. We shall change this view when we finally see how absurd it is, much like the view that this being was offended when the Assyrians did not listen to us at Nicea because they thought we were just making stuff up.

    February 8, 2013 at 5:41 pm |
  20. Surthurfurd

    The Catholic church has protected the Mafia, Dictators, and pedifiles. Where is their role in promoting morality?

    February 8, 2013 at 4:22 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Don't forget Nazis. Their role is power. The RCC church is essentually a Monarchy

      February 8, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • junior

      Encyclopedia Surthurfurdica. yeah, I don't subscribe to that.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Are you denying that priests preyed on children and the church hierarchy covered it up, junie?

      February 8, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
    • junior

      I am not denying. But do you know the predators in your neighborhood Tom?

      February 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm |
    • Terry

      The whole Catholic new catachism thing that the Vatican has been trying to push isn't taking hold with the new generation. Former and potential young Catholics have moved on to greener pastures: other religions, or nones. Dying religion, views matter less and less. Just sleazy old bishops grasping at straws and trying to seem relevant. Won't be around much longer.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      What, you live two door away? I knew you were strange, but a pedophile?

      What a creep.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • Terry

      The whole Catholic new catechism thing that the Vatican has been trying to push isn't taking hold with the new generation. Former and potential young Catholics have moved on to greener pastures: other religions, or nones. Dying religion, views matter less and less. Just sleazy old bishops grasping at straws and trying to seem relevant. Fail.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:22 pm |
    • junior

      Come one over Tom

      February 8, 2013 at 8:25 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      "Come one over." I think you're already "one over."

      February 8, 2013 at 8:26 pm |
    • junior

      Come on over Thom

      February 8, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.