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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. Dom

    I'm missing something here??...My wife and I are 78 years old...When we were bearing children you either used condoms or Vatican roulette because the pill wasn't around yet...After five quick children our priest suggested my wife should start taking the pill...(it had finally come on the market)...She gladly did and then later on, we "chose" to have two more children...We never questioned our priest...All I know is, he gave us the "option to" use it...We just assumed all priest did that...Maybe our priests were ahead of their time...That being said, we rarely miss mass, I have never heard a priest give a homily either for or against contraceptives for the woman...Had our priest never given us that option we can't really say if we'd have come to our senses and started using some kind of contraception...Chances are we would have and just confessed it at confession...My wife and I consider ourselves good Catholics and are Pro-Choicers...Dom

    June 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Dom, the point is not whether people have the choice to take the pill. They have that choice. The debate is over who has to pay.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Victor

      Sorry – that is not true- Read what the Cathesism says about family plainning.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
    • Victor

      Dom – We Catholics are PRO-LIFE not pro-choice. I"m not saying you are a bad catholic, that is between you and God but you are a very misinformed catholic. I'm a Catholic, only God knows how good but the message has been always clear. As a family, we have 3 altars, The Eucharist table at churc, the table in which as a family we sit down to eat and talk daily, and our bed, where we procreate life if so is God's will and for that We also pray. I'm 40 yrs old a lovely Catholic wife and 5 kids God has never given me more or less than we can handle. I don't follow the ideas of the "modern" world that have come to destroy many families. The Catholic church is ONE and ONLY ONE. Talk to your priest. We don't have multiple teachings or interpretations. I have followed what my church has taught me and cannot be happier or more at peace.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      Ctholic Moral theology says that the crux of a moral choice is intention. The intention in NFP is to prevent a pregnancy. Catholics have a really dumb god ... they think he doesn't know what they are up to.

      June 18, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      The majority of Pope Paul VI's Pntifical Comission, of 72 theologians and experts, recommended approval of birth control. Humanae Vitae was one man's contradiction of the working of the Holy Spirit.

      June 18, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
    • Catholic Clarity

      Your priest probably did not know the nature of "the pill" at that time. Also, it is NOT the rhythm method that the Catholic Church promotes.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
  2. AmericanSam

    All this Obama apathy is silly. He's done and attempted to do so many great things. I suppose the propaganda machine did a good job with creating a cynical public.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
    • Gay Guy

      Supreme Court upheld Arizonas voter id law, COURT IS DOING AWAY WITH ODUMBOCARE, ( which cost 1,700,000,000,000 DOLLARS, COURT WILL UPHOLD ARIZONAS strick IMMIGATION LAWS, WE WIN DEMBOS, HAHAHAHAHA

      June 18, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
  3. Gay Guy

    Obama took 500,000,000,000 dollars from old folks medicare, HE IS A LIEING CROOK, HES BEHIND IN POLLS BIG TIME, U DEMONRATS ARE GONNA LOSE!!!!! Hahahahahaha

    June 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  4. nitrous

    One of many reasons I'm not a Catholic anymore. They should worry about the pedophile priests.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Daws

      Thank you and welcome out 🙂

      June 18, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • Victor

      sorry – you were never a Catholic to begin with. True Catholics have it very clear. We know exactly that whom we're following. We follow no man or priest. I'm sure there are or have been pedophiles, rapists, killers in your own family. Can you renounce to your own blood because whtat some of your family members have done?? Keep your eyes in God, not men unless you want to be misled and very unhappy.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Bravo Viktor

      June 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  5. Gay Guy

    HOW DO U KNOW WHEN OBAMA AND THE DEMONRATS ARE LIEING????? WHEN THEIR DAMN LIPS ARE MOVING

    June 18, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • ANOEL2005

      this whole thing is about freedom of religion and the Dems want us to believe its about womens health. LOL

      June 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • AmericanSam

      Peace be with your troubled soul.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  6. Victor

    I'm a proud Catholic myself. I too NO LONGER support Obama.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • 98% of HYPOCRITICAL CATHOLIC WOMEN HAVE TAKEN THE PILL

      So you'd rather support a delusional Mormon who thinks Jesus came over to the United States in an alien submarine?

      Gotcha.

      You're one of the "intellectual" voters, huh?

      June 18, 2012 at 5:23 pm |
    • Daws

      So you support employers imposing their own morality on their employees, mandating behavior outside the workplace that doesn't affect the workplace?

      June 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Victor

      You must think you're 98% psyquic too.. When did I say I support Romney? I support neither. I will not dirty my hands voting for either. Thanks for asking!

      June 18, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
    • Mike McCarthy

      Frankly, someones religious views are of no consequence to me. Which is why I happen to agree with the Catholic Church here. I don't expect the Church to force religion down my throat, which they don't, nor do I expect the government to force secularism down the throat of the church.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
    • MargieM

      Good for you for standing by your faith & not bowing to popular pressure & social fads! God's word is everlasting, and Christians should not change their views based on current social trends!

      June 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      Yes Maggie, one should not support social trends. One should kill disobendient children, sacrifice humans, (including Jeebus), commit cannibalism, (communion), and burn heretics at the stake. by all means, do not follow any social trends.

      June 18, 2012 at 8:21 pm |
  7. 98% of HYPOCRITICAL CATHOLIC WOMEN HAVE TAKEN THE PILL

    Funny how the Catholic Church doesn't EVER want to talk about THAT, huh?

    June 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Margaret

      You need to understand that that figure is total nonsense. Did you know that the question was asked to "non practicing" Catholics? Of course you didn't. The news media didn't report that, just like they didn't report 43 law suits were filed against the Obama administration in a single day against the HHS mandate. Now, with that in mind, would you like to reconsider your statement?

      June 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  8. BAffled

    The root problem here is that in the US, health insurance coverage is tied into employment for a vast majority of people. Stop this, and it won't matter to the Catholic Church, or any other organization, what is covered or not in an individual's plan.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
  9. Willow

    There are actual medical reasons beyond not having babies to take birth control pills. PMDD is one of them. People need to be educated about this, religious types in particular. Not all women take birth control pills in order to sleep around and not have babies. Please stop assuming that is the only reason why we are taking them.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  10. Pope Peter I

    The Catholic Church is the wh0re of Babylon.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Catholics are not true Christians, they worship a wh ore over Jesus.

      Amen

      June 18, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  11. acura2010

    Catholics are running away from "CATHOLICS". Do something about the pedophile priests they defend and protect! They been raping little boys for ages and the rest of the lying Cardinals won't do nothing about it. Oh, they're rapists too!!!

    June 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Can you post the stats on how many priest are credibly charged with pedophilia? How about Baptists? How about high school coaches? How about other groups? I'd like to see the comparison. Or are you just about slamming the Catholics?

      June 18, 2012 at 5:46 pm |
  12. allens

    the catholic church should be paying income tax. all churchs should. that would raise more money than worrying about taxing the wealthy people. why are churchs above paying tax? without audits, how do we know what the big wigs are taking tax free?

    June 18, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      The should string up the Pope, he does the Devil's work.

      Amen.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • garza2526

      Threaten the church, that will bring them around. Too bad they answer to a higher power.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      garza2526

      Threaten the church, that will bring them around. Too bad they answer to a higher power.

      /
      They answer to their wh ore that they pray to

      June 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      You 're not going to like it if you give the state power over the church. Trust me and read history.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  13. trashcup

    The Catholic Church hierarchy and now the Catholic hospitals are all against using birth control, yet the members of the congregation hear NOTHING about individually using birth control in the privacy of their own homes because 90% of those Catholics surveyed say they are either using or have used birth control. NINETY PERCENT! One would think consistency would be coming forth from the Catholic Church hierarchy and demand that ALL Catholics no matter at home, at work or whatever STOP practicing birth control since it's against the tenants of the Catholic Church.

    But that will never happen because no one would be left in the Catholic Church to go to mass on Sunday and contribute. It's hardly crowded now, can you imagine if the parishioners start hearing they are sinners if they use birth control?

    June 18, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I thought it was 98% of course that was probably a made up number too. Besides it's irrelevant. If every single Catholic woman on the planet took birth control, it would still be the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church that life is sacred.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Bill Deacon

      >> it would still be the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church that life is sacred.
      >
      That is a lie. If that was true they wouldn't have tried to cover up and protect the child rap ist. The Catholic Church has about as much integrity as Satan himself.

      Amen.

      June 18, 2012 at 7:12 pm |
  14. Duane - St. Pete FLA

    Obama has lost the independent vote.......seeeeee yaaaa!!!!!

    June 18, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Gay Guy

      Obama has lost a huge part of the gay vote honey, trust me

      June 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Where is the logic for that comment? CNN/Money stated it cost over $230,000 to raise a child from birth to 18. If the parents can't pay for it guess who pays? The TAXPAYER. So it comes down to this. Which is cheaper, children or birth control.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • Gay Guy

      Why will Odumbo lose the election? CAUSE HE HAS LOST ABOUT 70% OF THE WHITE VOTE AND ON ELECTION DAY WHITES WILL MAKE UP ABOUT 77% OF VOTERS, HES GONNA LOSE BIG AND THE LIEING CROOK DESERVES IT,

      June 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  15. bam

    get religion out of politics..... religion is nothing but hate and intolerance of other religions

    June 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
    • The Knight of God

      Will the lack of religion help any? Human nature is violent, Christianity tells us we shouldn't follow that path and be peacemakers and let God handle the rest but we are human as well. Atheists are no different than the religious folk except the fact they lack belief. If we did as God asked, there wouldn't be religion nor athiesm. Just us and Him but hey humans are stupid. To actually think a lack of religion will help... anything can be turned into a religion even the lack of faith can be turned into that as we see today.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  16. Laurie

    By the way, Obama and Romney are the SAME: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWDJEc92d38

    June 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  17. Tom

    98+% of Catholics use birth control. This will affect Obama's Catholic vote not one whit. Might even get him more Catholic support. As for who pays? We all pay. Insurance is a pool. I pay for your heart bypass and you pay for my foot surgery and we both pay for someones birth control. That's what insurance is all about. There are hundreds of procedures that I will never need just like there are hundreds of procedures that women who are on birth control will never need. I don't hear them complaining about my foot surgery or my knee surgery.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • A Catholic

      I hate having to pay for some else's contraception when I am staunchly against it. Contraception should be banned. Immoral behavior should not be rewarded.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • The Knight of God

      Well Tom... to make it clear, I'd rather pay for a foot surgery than pay for someone who has a hard time not sleeping with someone else.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • trashcup

      Right on. Hating to pay for someone's contraception – you better start telling that to your Catholic brethren and then ask them if THEY use it. You'll be the odd man out sitting in church all by yourself because the rest of them aren't using the RHYTHM method anymore. NO ONE wants a family of 12 kids anymore, they can barely pay for 1-2 kids nowadays.

      Yep, be all against that contraception but you will be all alone doing that.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm |
    • just sayin

      A Catholic

      I hate having to pay for some else's contraception when I am staunchly against it. Contraception should be banned. Immoral behavior should not be rewarded.
      ------
      Your god has no place in our legal system.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:16 pm |
    • just sayin

      I guess Catholics are really that stupid...no wonder the Pope gets away with riding the backside of the little boys.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
    • The Knight of God

      I am not Catholic but I completely agree with them. You complain about them forcing religion... you're forcing secularism on them. Neither way is right. But then, secularists don't answer to a higher power (or so they think) so they can do whatever their consciences deem right no matter how seared it may be.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • sam stone

      A Catholic: Birth control pills are for more than birth control. When you r hurch starts turning in pedophiles., perhaps they will have some authority to speak of morality.

      June 18, 2012 at 7:05 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      sam stone

      >>perhaps they will have some authority to speak of morality.
      >
      Don't count on it. When it comes to the Catholic Church you can count on 2 things... protecting the r a p ists and beating up Nuns.

      June 18, 2012 at 7:15 pm |
  18. Laurie

    The Catholic Church is evil! Who does the Pope worship these days with his upside down cross? With his Dagon hat? It seems the church supports pedophilia. And the Vatican keeps calling for a one world bank...excellent! The New World Order compliments of the devil himself!

    June 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Jonathan Carpenter

      I love how a supposed adult discussion brings all the Anti-Catholic bigots out of the woodwork

      June 18, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      I guess the truth makes one a bigot. Catholics are going to burn for eternity.

      June 18, 2012 at 7:16 pm |
  19. angelosdaughter

    Kathy, the priest who is telling you that it is okay to use any method of contraception short of abortion and still remain an observant Catholic is an anomaly. If he were brought to the notice of his local bishop, he would either be silenced or removed. The official Catholic position sanctions only the unreliable rhythm method of birth control You must be waaay out of touch with official Catholic dogma. That priest certainly is, or he is consciously ignoring it because he realizes that reality and dogma are in opposition, and for him, reality takes precedence. You'd better go back to your Catechism, and hope no one reports your priest. An old school priest in- line with Church dogma would refuse you the sacraments if you continued to practice any method of birth control other than abstinence or the rhythm method, and you would no longer be a Catholic in good standing.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • trashcup

      A Catholic in good standing? Obviously 90 % of Catholics who DO practice birth control don't care if they are in good standing or not. OR they don't know it's a mortal sin to practice birth control. OR the parish priest somehow fails to mention that little detail on Sunday...the Catholic Church is so hypocritical. The public face of the Church says NO to birth control while the REAL Church (it IS the people who are members of the Church that make the Church afterall, isnt it?) while the Real Church member go about practicing birth control at the rate of 90% of them!

      WAKE UP! The only people in the Catholic Church who are practicing birth control the way the Church wants you to are the priests, bishops and cardinals (I hope they are anyway)

      June 18, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Again, the point is not how many in the pews adhere to the doctrine. The point is the bishops are committed to it. They are required by their Holy Orders to defend the faith and the faith teaches that life is sacred.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:53 pm |
  20. Aeromechanic

    Why isn't the Catholic church more concerned with the fact that they have members who use contraception than over who pays for them?

    I mean it seems like they don't care if women use it as long as they pay for it themselves.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • angelosdaughter

      They don't care if women use birth control as long as it's either the rhythm method or they use their own consciences, refuse to see it as a sin, and don't confess it. These and other people who pick and choose what dogma they will observe are known as 'Cafeteria Catholics'. The Church is full of them. If they were all 'outed', many of the churches would have to close. I left years ago because I don't care how its representatives defend themselves, the Catholic Church is anti-woman. I could not be a 'cafeteria Catholic'. It wants good subservient little females who remain content be endlessly pregnant during their fertile years and sacrifice their lives if necessary to bring a child into the world, if there has to be a choice between the child's life and the mother's even though that would leave the child and any existing siblings motherless.
      I sure hope the rebellious nuns keep standing up to the male-dominated hierarchy.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:30 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.