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Bishops reject Obama contraception compromise
Catholic Bishops called the HHS contraception mandate 'dubios' in a new statement.
March 14th, 2012
10:49 PM ET

Bishops reject Obama contraception compromise

By Kevin Liptak, CNN

(CNN) – An adjustment to a controversial federal rule requiring employers cover contraception in their health insurance plans was labeled “dubious” by Roman Catholic bishops on Wednesday.

The rule in question mandated all employers, including religiously affiliated organizations like hospitals and colleges, provide free contraception to employees through health insurance plans. Churches were exempted from the law.

After uproar from conservatives and religious groups, President Barack Obama announced an accommodation to the rule. Under the new plan, insurers will be required to offer complete coverage free to women instead of the religious institutions themselves.

On Wednesday the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops said the new rule remained “unspecified and dubious,” and said they would seek to engage in conversations with members of Obama’s administration to seek a more attractive alternative.

"We will continue to accept any invitation to dialogue with the executive branch to protect the religious freedom that is rightly ours,” the bishops said. “We will continue to pursue legislation to restore the same level of religious freedom we have enjoyed until just recently. And we will continue to explore our options for relief from the courts, under the U.S. Constitution and other federal laws that protect religious freedom.”

The group also attempted to push back on criticism from liberals that their opposition to the contraception rule was akin to restricting access to forms of birth control.

“This is not about access to contraception, which is ubiquitous and inexpensive, even when it is not provided by the church’s hand and with the church’s funds,” the group wrote.

The statement continued, “Indeed, this is not about the church wanting to force anybody to do anything; it is instead about the federal government forcing the church — consisting of its faithful and all but a few of its institutions — to act against church teachings.”
Responding to the bishops, Catholic League President Bill Donohue said the statement “leaves nothing on the table.”

“It debunks many myths about this issue: it is not about contraception; it is not just about Catholic religious rights; it is not about the Catholic Church trying to impose its will on others,” Donohue wrote. “It is about the federal government trying to impose its agenda on us.”

Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest at Georgetown University, said the bishops’ statement used “strong and uncompromising” language while not becoming inflammatory.

“The statement’s reference to the administration’s adaptation as ‘unspecified and dubious’ highlights the bishops’ distrust of the White House and HHS,” Reese said. “The bishops do not believe the administration’s promises to fix the problem for faith-based organizations and self-insured plans.”

Reese pointed out a flaw in the bishops’ argument that employers who feel their conscience was violated by providing contraception coverage should be exempted from the law.

“The statement infers that religious liberty is an absolute right that cannot be restricted,” Reese said. “If this were true, Mormons and Muslims could practice polygamy and those who believe God demands the separation of the races should be exempted from civil rights legislation.”

-CNN’s Eric Marrapodi contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Barack Obama • Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Church and state • Politics

soundoff (222 Responses)
  1. False Dichotomy

    This is the same insti.tution that looks the other way when children are ra.ped, that tell people in AIDS-ridden parts of the world not to use condoms, that peddles miracles to old ladies like snake oil salesmen. Why should we be expected to keep a straight face when they talk about "moral" issues? How dare they?

    March 15, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  2. Easternsailor

    Hey! Ike,
    Hay, the Shadow in the Dead Valley is the Dead! And only the Son of Man is the Light of the World, shine on me and to whom that You have chosen!

    March 15, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Time to leave the whisky in the jar-o, sailor.

      March 15, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  3. Paris Hilton Comes Out Strongly Against Being Against Things And Stuff, Totally!

    So, in the picture, they are all wearing pink yarmulkes. Does this mean that Catholic bishops have become gay Jews?

    March 15, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
    • Fluffy, the gerbil of doom

      That's a very interesting question, because well into the Second Century, until well after the Second Revolt in Jerusalem, Christians were just a "sub" sect in Judaism. The development and history is fascinating. Google the PBS Front Line special, "From Jesus to Christ". Live and learn. Damn those atheist rodents.

      March 15, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  4. Jim

    Where were these Bishops when twenty six states (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin) passed similar laws?.

    CNN should stop making this an issue, it is not about religion, this a war against women by Bishops who have always thought they know what is best for women. I am ashamed to be Catholic.

    March 15, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • TruthMomgler

      This is a distraction to keep people from realizing the truth about the American gov't. I can't believe people are so guillable that Republicans are this stupid. They are playing tricks with your mind so you don't see or care about evidence like this so they plan horrible things behind the curtain while people get upset over conterceptives you can still get. Screw the Catholic chruch anyways and screw the gov't doing this in our media

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lWB5ssifTg

      March 15, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
    • Freudian Slip

      Ever since Paul and Teckla, and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, the church has downgraded women, and expected them to obey, and be subservient.

      March 15, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
  5. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Today's election news with a religious bent is at http://santorum.com
    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    March 15, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  6. Easternsailor

    The W...hole! Whatever u have done to the least of My brother that u have done unto ME and the eternal damnation is what you are deserved! U r the wicked! And Get Away of My Sight!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  7. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    March 15, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Mythology is not healthy for children or other living things

      It changes otherwise rational people into fools hoping an invisible man will magically grant their wishes. Beyond that, it changes nothing.

      March 15, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      Error 404: prayer not found

      March 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
    • Prayer changes things

      Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

      March 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm |
    • wrong side of the bed

      Yup,that WAS my rubber tree plant saying a prayer the other day.I should have taped it .The first recorded miracle in history.Strange hearing a bunch of catholic priests calling something dubious.LOL!!

      March 15, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
    • 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 15, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • AGuest9

      Lying to children and telling them ridiculously fantastic stories is REALLY not healthy. Neither is allowing men who should be teachers and protectors to molest them, healthy.

      March 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm |
  8. Easternsailor

    W...hole! It never know that I AM Second Coming and I AM punish it to the eternal damnation as u have unto ME and the least of My brother!

    March 15, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
  9. Bob

    When the bishops can bring themselves to stop protecting the child molesting perverts amongst them maybe I'll care what they think.

    Until then, they can stuff it.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  10. Easternsailor

    Near to the end of time! Not only priest has been abuse and all of us were, too! The Spirit of God has said from the Book of Genesis, Because you have done such thing! I curse you more than cattle!

    March 15, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Ike

      Yes! Curse those darn cattle for doing nothing but eating and living. Those things bother everyone! Let's all curse them and those darn Atheists for being wicked and full of hateful lies. Let the Holy Lord call down punishment upon them both.
      In his Holy and Tasty name– let the Flying Spaghetti Monster's name be praised.

      AMEN (and don't forget the Parmesan cheese)

      March 15, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  11. Prayer is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer takes people away from actually working on real solutions to their problems.
    Prayer has been shown to have no discernible effect towards what was prayed for.
    Prayer prevents you from getting badly needed exercise.
    Prayer makes you fat.
    Prayer wears out your clothes prematurely.
    Prayer contributes to global warming through excess CO2 emissions.
    Prayer fucks up your knees and your neck and your back.
    Prayer can cause heart attacks, especially among the elderly.
    Prayer reveals how stupid you are to the world.
    Prayer exposes your backside to pervert priests.
    Prayer makes you think doilies are exciting.
    Prayer makes you secretively flatulent and embarrassed about it.
    Prayer makes your kids avoid spending time with you.
    Prayer gives you knobbly knees.
    Prayer makes you frothy like Rick Santorum. Just google him to find out.
    Prayer dulls your senses.
    Prayer makes you post really stupid shit.
    Prayer makes you hoard cats.
    Prayer makes you smell like shitty kitty litter and leads you on to harder drugs.
    Prayer wastes time.

    March 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  12. dreamer96

    Ah Yes remember when the Catholic pope, and Catholic Church, supported Hitler, because Hitler said he was a Christian, because he was fighting the Godless Communist, and ignored what was happening to the Jewish people....

    March 15, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      @Dream96
      The current Pope certainly should remember – he wore a Nazi uniform after all!

      March 15, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
    • AGuest9

      @Doc – he still might, under all those robes.

      March 15, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  13. kayjulia

    Isn't it neat how these protectors of child molesters can demand special treatment because of their church's teachings? Where were they when the children needed protection? I guess that isn't in the teachings of the church but interfering in the health of women is in the teachings.... Damn pervert protectors they should shut their lying mouths and hang their heads in shame... JMO !

    March 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  14. Easternsailor

    The WORD has said, Any thing that's hidden in the Dark and shall be exposed in the Light!

    March 15, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Ike

      As long as the flashlight's battery doesn't die!

      March 15, 2012 at 7:08 pm |
  15. Reality

    Beyond the minor topic of Obama getting the non-Catholic vote:

    Only for the newbies:

    From a "guy who enjoys se-x" but s-ex never done in a state of stupidity.

    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 15, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
    • Easternsailor

      Reality,
      That's why the Pope Benedict the XVI said to those they're had the VD and should use the condom to stop that transmit disease and only God's know His children and the Giave Almighty is the God of the Hopeless and only the Christian know Him!

      March 15, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  16. Easternsailor

    Chief!, u r...Red Skin. No Red Skin in the Kingdom of God! And No R...V...ID...,2!

    March 15, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  17. Easternsailor

    We are man and always love our loves as our wives and our children! And our families never want to know the Lover Boy...ID...

    March 15, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • sam

      What the hell does that even mean?? Is this a test?

      March 15, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  18. Woody

    When the pharmaceutical companies that produce birth control products offer the CC a piece of the action, the church will "reconsider" their stance in a heartbeat.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Easternsailor

      Woody,
      The Ape L..B... wants to kill all the human and they never win as from the beginnin' until the end only the ordinary men as well as their families and they be called the Lamb of God' s children will carry on.

      March 15, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • kayjulia

      I agree with you on this the CC has always been a lackey to money and I wouldn't be surprised to see them change their mind if they got a cut of the action.

      March 15, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  19. Mark D. Haszard

    Religions need to adapt and accommodate.
    Jehovah's Witnesses blood transfusion confusion

    Jehovahs Witnesses take blood products now in 2012.
    They take all fractions of blood.This includes hemoglobin, albumin, clotting factors, cryosupernatant and cryopoor too, and many, many, others.
    If one adds up all the blood fractions the JWs takes, it equals a whole unit of blood. Any, many of these fractions are made from thousands upon thousands of units of donated blood.
    Jehovah’s Witnesses can take Bovine *cows blood* as long as it is euphemistically called synthetic Hemopure.
    Jehovah's Witnesses now accept every fraction of blood except the membrane of the red blood cell. JWs now accept blood transfusions.
    The fact that the JW blood issue is so unclear is downright dangerous in the emergency room.
    -
    Danny Haszard

    March 15, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Easternsailor

      MARK D. Haszard,
      Hey! Hay...it is the Twilight...

      March 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  20. jimtanker

    Who gives a F what these bishops say? They have NO say in the legal process in the US. Get rid of them all.

    March 15, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • Easternsailor

      Pss...

      March 15, 2012 at 9:29 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.