home
RSS
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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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.

Follow the CNN Belief Blog on Twitter

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. jeremy

    sily religious nutters

    June 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  2. Engineer

    Freedom of choice is key unless you feel as though Catholics cannot decide for themselves and the Vatican must decide for them. The Priests seem to make bad choices but you do not see the Vatican making decisions to curve their passions.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Satan

      Accordingly.... according to the free choice that Man has been given.... he is free to choose. He can also choose between the "Holy Church" of Rome... or ...... not! The Choice is there for all to make. So be it said not that Man was not allowed to make his "choice". If Man chooses not to live the "Catholic" doctrine, then..... why would he consider himself to be.... "Catholic"?

      June 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  3. Mensa141

    I've always been a student of history but I didn't know this interesting piece of history!
    HISTORY OF THE CONDOM
    In 1272, the Arabic Islamic Muslims invented the condom, using a goat's lower intestine.
    In 1873, the British somewhat refined the idea by taking the intestine out of the goat first.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  4. Louise

    I, too, am a Catholic who is planning to vote for Obama. The Catholic church is so hypocritical in opposing birth control yet condoning, by covering up,child molestation by priests. If the Catholic church wants to know why its numbers are dwindling, it needs to rethink many of its policies and to move into the 21st century.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • Satan

      Well.. then... Louise..... Why are you Catholic?

      June 18, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Why wouldn't a Catholic vote for Obama? His policies are so much more Christian in spirit that those of the right wing.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • A Catholic

      Then why do you even bother going to church?

      June 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Yes, I agree. Why are you Catholic? I wish all people who disagreed with the Vatican would just leave the church. It is the only way to get them to come into the 21st century. When the cash in the plates dwindle... only then will changes to policies be made.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Engineer

      Thank you!! That says it all. The fact you see this and voice your opinion makes you a true Catholic.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • mm

      Satan, the same reason milllions of others are.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  5. Katlick

    Wilbur J. The Katlick Church might be a crime syndicate but the U.S. government is the mother of all crime syndicates. Except for the master of them both – Judaism.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  6. big brother

    There is no such thing as a Catholic ally, the Vatican is in it for the money, honey!

    June 18, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • bob

      yo big bro; those HOLIER THAN THOU Catholics have BIGGER fish to FRY like: STOP HIDDING those PEDOPHILE PRIEST!

      June 18, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  7. Wilbur J

    The Catholic church seems to feel it is above the law. Or, rather, that it IS the law. Funny, the Taliban act the same way. Why the government would even listen to a criminal organization like the Catholic church (buggering little boys and covering up the facts) is beyond me.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Jeff from Columbus

      LOL. The "law" IS the issue here. You can't say, "The Catholic Church has to accept the law" when the LAW is the issue.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • andrew.peter

      What Wilbur is saying is that the Catholic Church should just shut-up and do as it's told. Like being oppressed by a dictator. That's how the left works, get over it.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Satan

      My dear Wilbur J! The notes of the past seem to have escaped you! The "Catholic Church" for centuries was the law that rulers abode by. The wiley ways of bending the rules of the "Catholic Church" was demonstrated by King Henry... good ole soul.... when he decided to Choose to create his own church, the "Church of England" in order to apply his own creative rules of divorce. For certain, if he created his own church, he could write the rules! So it goes... if one really "wants" to have "choice" then as Men, do as Men do and change to another set of rules. There of course is no need to abide by the "Catholic Church" rules/law. Simply put, become a non-Catholic! It is an easy choice! Why quibble over what rules the "Catholic Church" lays out as it's "law". If Man does not desire to be "Catholic" then, he shouldn't be "Catholic". In the same way, if Man does not want to be "Muslim" then, it follows, that he shouldn't be "Muslim". So.... if following a "Catholic Church" offends you because of the sins of the fathers... then by all means: it is the choice of Man to choose.... a gift that has been granted by The Creator.... Hail His Holy Name and the Church upon which his mother cast her Fruit! No need to fret or complain.... just make the choice of Man!

      June 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  8. Romas

    All religions need to remember that they do not have a right to demand that the USA must follow their opnion. Personally II think the tax free status of all religions that stick their nose into politics and/or the operation of the government should be permanently revoked.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      A resounding second to your motion!

      June 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Satan

      Romas.... it is, sorry to inform you, not that the "Holy Church of Rome" .... "stuck" her nose into government. Nye was it that the governments chose to encourage Her to do so! It is the governments that preyed upon the dear good parishionners to bend to the will of the regents of the world, instead! The choice is yours to be a follower of a "Church" so that you are pleased.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • mm

      AMEN!

      June 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  9. A Catholic

    Oral contraceptives carry extremely serious and even fatal side effects.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Dan

      So does aspirin, s***head

      June 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • Romas

      Not true.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
    • NJBob

      WHAT?! Millions of women use them! I suppose they like the thrill they get by risking their life. You make no sense.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • A Catholic

      Romas

      It is true and if you don't know it, it's time to educate yourself.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • sam stone

      Then don't take them A Catholic.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Engineer

      You cannot be serious about such a comment while living in the 21st century. And I guess you sustain yourself (even if sick) on wild roots, nuts and berries.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Formally known as The Catholic

      Your not gonna win the "its bad for you" logic. Unless you want us to take everything thats bad or could be bad for YOU

      June 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
    • johnharry

      someones fibbing

      June 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
    • A Catholic

      I just want women to know that birth control pills are killers.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Dan

      You just want to confirm for us that you are a thoughtless a**hole. As if we didn't already know

      June 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
    • A Catholic

      If you don't believe me, I'll download a package insert and post verbatim the dangers.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Caffeine has lots of side effects and can cause death. Alcohol causes many deaths every year and yet Catholics drink wine every Sunday.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • Dan

      It's not that we don't believe you, but it is a ridiculous point. All medicine has potential side-effects, often deadly. Still better than the alternative

      June 18, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      To "A Catholic"....you, and people who think like you, are exactly why I rejected and left the Catholic church after 30 years. You are living in the wrong century friend...this is no longer the bronze age...so how dare you tell people to "educate themselves?"

      June 18, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • A Catholic

      Oh, yeah, risking death is better than risking pregnancy.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Dan

      There is a FAR greater chance of dying during labor than of dying from birth control

      June 18, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Jen

      Giving birth is extremely hazardous and potentially fatal.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      I call troll on A Catholic. Very short answers and completely idiotic stances.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Satan

      Now ya see? Not All Docs Play Golf has got it right: it was his choice to leave that "Church of Rome" because of his opinion of what Man said, rather than the Actuaries of the Canon. Good job on being the Man who stood on his own feet to point them away from the Holy Tabernacle. I wish you well in your journey away from that "Roman Faith"!

      June 18, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • mm

      And not taking them may create a Catholic.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  10. MD

    Hypocrits(not all)! If true be known, Catholics pratice birth control just like everyone else. Further, birth control is used for more than birthcontrol. Also, tThe use of birth control cuts down on the number of abortions. Pediphile priests?

    June 18, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  11. Kathleen

    The fact is – Catholics use contraception and will continue to do so. The Catholic church needs to deal with this truth.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • Jeff from Columbus

      The Catholic Church has pretty much accepted this truth. This isn't about birth control. Its about forcing a religion to pay for something that violates its faith.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • BRC

      @Jeff,
      Religions themselves have no protection from being forced to do things, the first amendment applies to individuals, not organizations. As long as all religions are placed under the same burden (and they are in this scenario), then it's legal. IN this case, since it's putting the wellfare of people above the complaints of organizations, I'd say it's not a big deal (I will agree completely if you disagree with the clause that would REQUIRE individuals to pay for their own health insurance, that's deeply interfering in a person's life, but making all religions do it, no issues there).

      June 18, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • iamstu

      Nobody is making the church hand out pills. If you are an employer, you either provide healthcare or you don't. They can't pick and choose what that healthcare will cover.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • FalseProphet

      @ Jeff

      Jeff – But nobody is forcing them to pay anything. The compromise was that the insurers would be the ones bankrolling contraceptive services. To say the Church has to pay for them because they are indirectly linked is intellectually dishonest and a matter of semantics. By that logic, anyone who pays their taxes supports the death penalty. I'm sorry, but denying women health coverage (the Church has no problem with pen1le implants or Viagra) on the basis that the money can be traced back to them is pathetic. And it's not the mindset of 98% of Catholics out there (myself included). This is not about religious rights, this is about a bunch of powerful old white guys wanting to get their way or no way. Jesus cared more about caring for others then he did about archaic and out-dated ideas on ones s3x life. Focus on the parts of the Bible that do good and stop using the minor points to drag down society.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • Satan

      Ah, Kathleen, but the "Blessed One" has already dealt with this in ways that you can not yet imagine...... not you, nor any Man! The "need to deal" in this life.... perhaps.... doesn't fall upon the "Word" of the Arisen Son. Perhaps there is another who might "need to deal" with this?

      June 18, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  12. rod1148

    That vast majority of Catholics (myself included) simply do not believe that birth control is sinful. Hate break that to you but it's been that way for decades. Want proof? Look at the size of catholic families now vs the 1950s. The bishops have lost a good deal of their credibility and control and losing more all the time.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Satan

      That right to "believe" is another "choice" that Man has been granted by the Holy Father in Heaven. The word was given long ago. It truly is the choice of Man to believe or not!

      June 18, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  13. J.R.

    Why Obama and the White House are making the mistake of listening to that HATE GROUP - which is what Catholicism is - is beyond me.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • A Catholic

      Hate Group. LMAO. Yeah, make us something when you have no argument.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  14. angelosdaughter

    I am an ex-Catholic who outgrew their antiquated male-dominated thinking. It always gets me that they use god-given free will as an excuse for the bad things that happen in the world, then try to abridge that supposedly god-given gift, I can't buy into it. What loving father would put a dangerous weapon into the hands of his children then punish them for using it?
    Another point. No one has a window into another's soul. This church forms your conscience then interferes with your use of it. A woman's body belongs to no one but herself. If she was raised in any religion or by ethical non-religious parents she has a conscience. What she does with her body is between herself/conscience and her God, if she has one. It's none of my or anyone else's business. If she asks for your advice, give it. If not keep your opinions to yourself.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      Sounds like you found yourself a brain. Glad you took advantage and left that miserable religion.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      I, too, am a "recovering Catholic."

      June 18, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
    • John Bowen

      I completely agree. Very insightful and well said. Refreshing!!

      June 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Michael

      Thank you for your wisdom daughter of Satan.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  15. Formally known as The Catholic

    Its funny how the church and the members are differing on this. Most Catholics are for birth control and use it, but the Priests and higher uppers all think its bad. I think its time we let the Priests get married, they'll start coming around pretty quick after there 7th kid.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • A Catholic

      Too bad the Catholic church is not a democracy then, heh?

      June 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Dan

      It still listens to the voices of its people from time to time though

      June 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • Formally known as The Catholic

      They'd have a "vision" pretty quick when that collection plate gets a little light.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • NJBob

      @ A Catholic - I think anyone who is religious has dangerous autocratic tendencies.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  16. A Catholic

    Vote for Romney! He will ensure religious freedom.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Religious freedom does not mean the right to discriminate.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Dan

      There is no freedom to force others to live like serfs from the dark ages

      June 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Vote for total control of your life!

      Riiight... because Mitt is going to be so friendly to Catholics. Mormon rule!

      June 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      Vote for Obama. He will defend freedom of contraceptive choice.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • NJBob

      The freedom to subject oneself to autocratic rule. I guess it makes sense to you. It makes no sense to me.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  17. OPEN400

    This whole thing is a joke. I am 56 year old Catholic. When a priest talks against birth control, it is like the old days when the priest talked again eating meat on Friday. There are a lot of Catholics that are fed up with the 1% running the country – that's a much bigger issue. The Catholic vote is not a unified vote like the NRA or the NAACP vote.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • Dan

      Good to know! I always suspected that Catholics were a lot more sane than the Vatican would have us believe

      June 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • mainstream

      Did you get the word Catholic tatooed on your forhead or something when yoiu were a child? You don't believe in the Catholic dogma, then leave it. You don't have to keep calling yourself catholic.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
    • Dan

      mainstream, Catholic dogma is subject to change over time

      June 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • Thik About It ?

      Dan,
      What, every thousand years or so? When that happens, he can call himself a catholic again. How that?

      June 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  18. markiejoe

    Another group of Catholic lackeys caves under pressure from the Vatican.

    What else is new?

    June 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • DanDawson

      What else is new – a non-Catholic being critical of a Catholic for exercising their right to believe whatever they want to believe.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
    • Jon

      Yes, it appears that the Vatican finally got to them. Wish they had been more honest about why they "changed" their minds.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Dan

      Your belies don't put you above the law though

      June 18, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • Dan

      beliefs*

      June 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • DanDawson

      If you don't like it tuff – it doesn't affect you one bit!

      June 18, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
    • Dan

      It does if I land a job at a catholic university

      June 18, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  19. Andrew

    I don't know if this CNN writer has ever met a Catholic, but these issues matter a lot less to most Catholics than you think they do.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  20. A Catholic

    Contraception should be made illegal. It is simply immoral.

    June 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
    • Dan

      Contraception reduces poverty. How is that immoral?

      June 18, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
    • Jesus Christ

      yet you eat animals and plants, that is immoral. Frankly your birth due to the result of your mom being shagged by an ape is immoral.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
    • A Catholic

      By preventing implantation of fertilized eggs. Also, it promotes immoral behavior.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • sam stone

      First of all, A Catholic, birth control pills have more uses than preventing pregnancy

      Secondly, our laws are not here to codify your supposed morality

      Perhaps you should revisit the illegal/immoral paradigm when your priests are molesting alterboys

      June 18, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Dan

      Condoms actually prevent fertilization in the first place

      June 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • sam stone

      How is preventing implantation of fertilized eggs immoral?

      F your supposed morality.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
    • A Catholic

      Condoms inhibit the natural purpose of s.ex.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
    • Dan

      Incase you haven't noticed, nature isn't all that friendly to us. Vaccines are "unnatural" too, but they keep us healthy

      June 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
    • Not All Docs Play Golf

      "Contraception should be made illegal." Did you really say that? Really? Jail time for using condoms?

      June 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • NJBob

      I think I hear Torquemada calling........

      June 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • NJBob

      And when your god permits a miscarriage, I guess that would be an immoral act too, right? The god you worship is fundamentally immoral.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      A Catholic is probably a big fan of Mother Theresa who worked her whole life to keep people in poverty and to keep women as second-class citizens.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

      A Catholic probably has a very miserable se-x life too. He wants everyone to be as miserable as him. By his logic, if you are past the age of being able to birth children, you should not be allowed to have se-x.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • mm

      Get out much!

      June 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19
Advertisement
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.