Key Catholic group drops support for White House contraception plan
The Obama administration wants to require insurance companies to provide free contraception coverage.
June 18th, 2012
11:24 AM ET

Key Catholic group drops support for White House contraception plan

By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor

(CNN) – The Obama administration’s key Catholic ally on its controversial plan to require health insurers to provide free contraceptive coverage is dropping support for the plan, potentially complicating the president’s relations with Catholics in an election year.

The Catholic Health Association, which comprises 2,000 Catholic hospitals, health systems and related organizations, said Friday that although it had initially supported what the White House called a compromise on the contraception issue, it is now “deeply concerned” about the plan and says the White House “has not relieved our initial concerns.”

Many Catholic groups expressed opposition to the Obama administration’s proposal to require employers to provide free contraception coverage to their employees. Although the plan exempted churches, other religiously affiliated employers - including colleges and hospitals - were not exempt.

In the face of that opposition, the Department of Health and Human Services tweaked its original rule in February to require health insurers, not employers, to cover the cost of contraception coverage, reasoning that would prevent Catholics instructions from having to finance such coverage.

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The so-called compromise won support from certain Catholic groups, most significantly the Catholic Health Association, which calls itself the nation’s largest group of nonprofit health care providers.

“The Catholic Health Association is very pleased with the White House announcement that a resolution has been reached that protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of Catholic institutions,” Sister Carol Keehan, president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association, said in a February statement.

But on Friday, the Catholic Health Association sounded a much different line, saying in a letter to the agency that “We remain deeply concerned … with the approach the Administration has taken with respect to contraceptive services, especially abortifacient drugs and sterilization.”

The administration denies that its contraception mandate covers abortifacients - drugs that cause abortions - but some socially conservative groups disagree.

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In its letter, the Catholic Health Association urged the administration to broaden its exemption on the contraceptive mandate to include different kinds of religiously affiliated institutions.

The American Roman Catholic bishops have steadfastly criticized the Health and Human Services rule. The Catholic Health Association’s support for the rule gave the Obama some Catholic political cover in the face of such attacks.

Catholic voters represent one of the largest swing voting blocs in the nation, voting with the winning presidential candidate in every election since the 1970s.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: 2012 Election • Catholic Church • Health care • Politics

soundoff (1,412 Responses)
  1. icon-design

    You are not right. Let's discuss it.

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    September 13, 2012 at 5:56 am |
  2. webbdesign|kungsbacka|hemsida

    Wonderful points altogether, you just received a new reader. What may you recommend about your submit that you simply made some days in the past? Any sure?

    July 8, 2012 at 4:25 am |

    Thump up 2 dr turnaround in decision. The church stand on abortion is irrevocable.

    June 24, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  4. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things

    June 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
    • Jesus

      Prayer doesn’t not; you are such a LIAR. You have NO proof it changes anything! A great example of prayer proven not to work is the Christians in jail because prayer didn't work and their children died. For example: Susan Grady, who relied on prayer to heal her son. Nine-year-old Aaron Grady died and Susan Grady was arrested.

      An article in the Journal of Pediatrics examined the deaths of 172 children from families who relied upon faith healing from 1975 to 1995. They concluded that four out of five ill children, who died under the care of faith healers or being left to prayer only, would most likely have survived if they had received medical care.

      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!

      June 22, 2012 at 11:37 am |
  5. Biblical

    The catholic church is misunderstood, as far as the s3x abuse scandal goes. What really happened is that a bunch of h0m0s3xuals infiltrated the ranks of the priesthood.. Pretty sure same thing happened with the orthodox jews in brooklyn where they had a similar problem.

    June 20, 2012 at 7:58 am |
    • sam stone

      Or, the entire heirarchy is that way. I can see the pope, meeting with the college of cardinals, ripping off his purty dress, revealing leather and chaps, prancing around to The Village People's YMCA "....you can hang out with all the boys" while altarboys bend over for his backdoor pleasure

      June 20, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Bet

      I think the catholic church's reaction to the pedophilia scandal is pretty clear. They continue to spread lies in an effort to downplay their cover up.

      Being gay and being a pedophile are very different. The church keeps trying to associate the two to spread fear, support their anti-gay agenda and deflect the attention off their complete lack of responsible action on behalf of victims.

      Female children were molested too. However, girls were not allowed to be altar boys, so there was far less opportunity to seclude them, groom them, and abuse them.

      The church refused, time after time, to remove known pedophile priests from the ranks. They need to keep as many of them as they can. Instead they simply sent them to another parish, where they continued to abuse children without any accountability for their actions.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • WDinDallas

      They have quit and now all work for the NYC school system.

      June 20, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
  6. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    Religious cretins have the IQ of an amoeba.

    Oh, Amoeba, sorry for insulting you.

    June 20, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • Biblical

      war on christians : act 2, scene 1

      June 20, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • rudyardK

      @Biblical: Christians still scoreless. The coach is going to give the pitcher a sermon on the mound.

      June 20, 2012 at 1:51 am |
    • Bet

      @ Biblical

      Oh please. Are you really pulling out the old "we're so persecuted" nonsense?

      June 20, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  7. Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

    All churches, mosques, synagogues etc should be burnt down. They are full of cretins who cant think. And force their ideas down our throats. It is OK for us to force our ideas down their throats though. Because we are hippocretes.

    June 20, 2012 at 12:09 am |
    • Lameness Spotter

      Name thief ^^^^^^

      (shows how hideous some believers are)

      Grow up, wouldja...

      June 20, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • Biblical

      See, I told you. There IS a war on christians.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Nope. It's not. It's just a herbie being his usual loser self.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:18 am |
    • Lameness Spotter


      Don't be a dolt. This poster is a juvenile troll who is posting under Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son's name to stir up trouble.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:21 am |
    • rudyardK

      If you're going to try to impersonate Tom Tom, you'll have to improve your spelling, grammar, and sentence structure. Give the Devil her due.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I love Kipling! It's my favorite pastime.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:24 am |
    • Biblical

      @ Lameness

      How do you know?

      June 20, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      How does it know? Because you're too dumb to impersonate anything but a wilting Aspidistra.

      June 20, 2012 at 12:31 am |
    • rudyardK

      @Tom Tom: I like Kipling too. I Kipl every chance I get. I used to get in trouble Kipling out behind the barn.

      Thank you! Thank you very much! Great crowd! Thank you!

      June 20, 2012 at 12:38 am |
  8. rudyardK

    Often, Tom Tom's mad thrusts
    Skewer crawlers

    Beneath her cruelly sharp heels
    Impales the courteous as well as the
    Does it matter?

    June 19, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      Oh, honey, you had me at "thrusts".

      June 19, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • rudyardK


      June 19, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • rudyardK

      @Tom: ...very large grin...

      June 19, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  9. Biblical

    The Gubmint should not tell religious places what to do and what not to do

    June 19, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Go stick your finger in a socket, Bib-troll.

      June 19, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • birch

      My religion says i should kill my first born and the government cant stop me.....

      June 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  10. CrystalPrism

    Birth control is wrong because it kills innocent babies who have just been conceived in the womb by aborting them. "Barrier" forms of birth control are wrong because they interfere with God's plan for the continuance of the human species. God has also said that adultery is sinful and not conducive to His plan for human happiness and the stability of the human family. This is all revealed in the 10 commandments and in Jesus' explanation of sin. It is good that the CHA has finally realized their error in supporting the president's health plan. The Church cannot help people sin. The Church must help do what they can to help people understand what they need to do to get to heaven. To allow this "health plan" to dictate to the Church how it ministers to souls would be like giving a thief permission to steal. Wrong is wrong and the Church must defend the truth, not go with "popular thinking" on a subject;

    June 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm |
    • Biblical

      Amen, brother. We need to get back to the days when there was no premarital s3x, no divorce 'cept for abuse and adutery. "till death do us apart" indeed. and Yeah, "spare the rod and spoil the child"

      June 19, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son


      June 19, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
    • sam stone

      It doesn't "kill innocent babies". It prevents implantation in the uterine wall. Of course, this bit of medical information does not have the emotional draw of "killing innocent babies"

      June 20, 2012 at 6:43 am |
  11. Luis Concepcion

    This is a decision that should be made by woman, not men. Us men don't know what's best for a woman, than a woman herself. Enough said.

    June 19, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  12. PrimeNumber

    The largest division of HHS is the Public Health Service. Scientists and doctors with PHS conducted the Tuskeegee Syphilis Experiments from about 1937 into the 1970's. The church should not pander to an organization capable of such atrocities.

    June 19, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  13. Reality

    The easy solution: (only for new members of this blog)

    Condoms are available over- the- counter. Make the Pill (type dependent on a doctor’s evaluation) available over the counter and there will be no more debate. Planned Parenthood can offer deep discounts for those who say they cannot afford said protection.

    Or better yet, put a pack of condoms in cereal boxes. Unfortunately, that would not ensure the condoms and/or Pills would be used. Based on Guttmacher Insti-tute data, said condoms and/or Pills are currently not being used as they should. (one million abortions/yr and 19 million cases of S-TDs/yr because either the daily Pill was not taken or a condom stayed in the pocket.)

    Condom-fitted briefs for men?? Hmmm? Maybe not.

    The door is open for other ideas!!!

    Some added nitty-gritty:

    "Twenty-one states offer exemptions from contraceptive coverage, usually for religious reasons, for insurers or employers in their policies: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan (administrative rule), Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas and West Virginia."


    June 19, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
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About this blog

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