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. Gay Guy


    June 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Victor

      NO Thank you!

      June 18, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
    • mandarax

      The opinions of someone who considers "odumbo" to be a clever play on the name Obama can probably be dismissed with very little consequence.

      June 18, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  2. JustaNormalPerson

    The pope, the cardinals, and the bishops are hyprocritical fools. If there is a god and a hell, they will have a special place reserved for them.

    June 18, 2012 at 6:05 pm |
    • Victor

      Yes, I'm sure God will bless your "normalcy".

      June 18, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  3. Turnaway

    The big payoff folks . . . Check you Catholic leaders history of extortion and corruption. These are just remnants of the Pharisees and the Sadducees from when Jesus walked amongst men. Jesus called them hypocrites and sons of the devil. And here we are today, nothing has change, that is why we do not need mere man, so called Catholic leaders, to intercede on our behalf, for Jesus said no longer do we have to go through the high priest for they are like vipers and of sin. Jesus is the way, the only way to the Father. Pray for the lot of them.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  4. Cherries

    Gee lets see. $70 for a depo shot or $7000 for labor and delivery. This makes the most perfect financial sense ever!!

    June 18, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  5. Gay Guy

    Thats Gays against Odumbo, sorry MARY

    June 18, 2012 at 5:56 pm |
  6. Rebel4Christ


    He is coming back

    June 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • nope

      he really isnt.

      June 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  7. Rebel4Christ


    June 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
  8. kindness

    I Follow Christ . I never wanted proof. I just had faith.

    HE WHO follows Me, walks not in darkness,” says the Lord (John 8:12). By these words
    of Christ we are advised to imitate His life and habits, if we wish to be truly enlightened and
    free from all blindness of heart. Let our chief effort, therefore, be to study the life of Jesus
    The teaching of Christ is more excellent than all the advice of the saints, and he who
    has His spirit will find in it a hidden manna. Now, there are many who hear the Gospel often
    but care little for it because they have not the spirit of Christ. Yet whoever wishes to understand
    fully the words of Christ must try to pattern his whole life on that of Christ.

    What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you
    displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous
    life makes him pleasing to God. I would rather feel contrition than know how to define it.
    For what would it profit us to know the whole Bible by heart and the principles of all the
    philosophers if we live without grace and the love of God? Vanity of vanities and all is vanity,
    except to love God and serve Him alone.

    This is the greatest wisdom—to seek the kingdom of heaven through contempt of the
    world. It is vanity, therefore, to seek and trust in riches that perish. It is vanity also to court
    honor and to be puffed up with pride. It is vanity to follow the lusts of the body and to desire
    things for which severe punishment later must come. It is vanity to wish for long life and
    to care little about a well-spent life. It is vanity to be concerned with the present only and
    not to make provision for things to come. It is vanity to love what passes quickly and not
    to look ahead where eternal joy abides.
    Often recall the proverb: “The eye is not satisfied with seeing nor the ear filled with
    hearing.”1 Try, moreover, to turn your heart from the love of things visible and bring
    yourself to things invisible. For they who follow their own evil passions stain their consciences
    and lose the grace of God.

    See for yourself. You will be on a battlefield for christ

    June 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
    • Victor

      A M E N ! ! Brother.

      June 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Gay Guy

      Ur so full of wisdom from CHRIST, PRAY FOR ME, LOVE WAYNE

      June 18, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  9. Bob Herman

    iThis is a "free" society and In the real world I will continue to use birth control or not as I please.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • byronswetland

      Trust me, Bob; I am NOT alone when I say this: THANK YOU for not procreating!!

      June 18, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Youremakinmecrazy

      That's right Bob, you are free to decide if you want to use birth control or not, AND in America, organizations such as the Catholic Church and its affiliated organizations also have the right to decide if they will use or accept birth control as part of their life. At least they did while the country was free, up and until Grand Dictator Obama began to take over.

      June 18, 2012 at 6:01 pm |
  10. kindness

    For you.
    MY personal testimony.
    A thought to consider without an ego response

    Accept Jesus christ as your lord and saviour. You never know how soon is too late. Transcend the worldly illusion of enslavement.
    The world denounces truth....

    Accepting Jesus Christ (for me) resulted in something like seeng a new colour. You will see it .....but will not be able to clearly explain it to anyone else..... Its meant to be that way to transend any selfism within you.

    Also... much the world arranges "surrounding dark matter into something to be debated" in such a way that protects/inflates the ego.

    The key is be present and transcend our own desire to physically see evidence. We don't know anyways by defending our own perception of dark matter.

    Currently.... most of us are constructing our own path that suits our sin lifestyle. Were all sinners. Knowing that we are is often an issue. But both christians and non are sinners.

    We don't like to Let go and let god. We want control to some degree. This is what Jesus asks us to do. "Follow me".
    It's the hardest thing to do... but is done by letting the truth of scripture lead you (redemptive revelation)... as I said .

    Try reading corinthians and see if it makes sense to you. Try it without a pre conceived notion of it being a fairy tale.
    See the truth...
    do we do what it says in todays society... is it relevant... so many have not recently read and only hinge their philosophy on what they have heard from som other person...which may have been full of arogance pride or vanity..

    Look closely at the economy ponzi, look at how society idolizes Lust , greed , envy, sloth, pride of life, desire for knowledge, desire for power, desire for revencge,gluttony with food etc .

    Trancsend the temporal world.

    Just think if you can find any truth you can take with you ....in any of these things. When you die your riches go to someone who will spend away your life..... You will be forgotten.... history will repeat iteslf.... the greatest minds knowledge fade or are eventually plagerzed..... your good deeds will be forgotten and only give you a fleeting temporary reward . your learned teachings are forgotten or mutated..... your gold is transfered back to the rullers that rule you through deception. Your grave will grow over . This is truth .

    Trancsend your egoism and free yourself from this dominion of satan. Understand you are a sinner and part of the collective problem of this worldly matrix... Repent.... Repent means knowing (to change) The Holy spirit (within) will convict you beyond what you think you can do by yourself. Grace is given to those who renounce the world. That are" in" the world but not "of " the world.

    Evidence follows faith. Faith does not follow evidence..... Faith above reason in Jesus Christ.

    Faith comes by Reading or Hearing the word of god from the bible . Ask Jesus in faith for dicernment and start reading the new testament... You will be shocked when you lay down your preconceived notions and ....see and hear truth ... see how christ sets an example ... feel the truth....

    Read Ecclesiastes. Read corinthians.

    You cant trancend your own egoism by adapting a world philosophy to suit your needs. Seek the truth in Christ.

    Sell all your cleverness and purchase true bewilderment. You don't get what you want ....you get what you are in christ.

    I promise this has been the truth for me. In Jesus christ .

    Think of what you really have to lose. ...your ego?

    Break the Matrix of illusion that holds your senses captive.

    once you do . you too will have the wisdom of God that comes only through the Holy Spirit. Saved By grace through Faith. Just like seeing a new colour.... can't explain it to a transient caught in the matrix of worldly deception.
    You will also see how the world suppresses this information and distorts it

    You're all smart people . I tell the truth. Its hard to think out of the box when earthly thinking is the box.
    I'ts a personal free experience you can do it free anytime . Don't wait till you are about to die.. START PUTTING YOUR TREASURES WHERE THEY REALLY MATTER >
    Its awsome and It's just between you and Jesus

    my testimony

    Romans 10:9

    "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved

    June 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • Victor

      I totally understand you brother – My world used to be black and white only.. I see the colors now just like you said it. It cannot be explained. God is great! May the peace of God always be with you.

      June 18, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
  11. Gay Guy


    June 18, 2012 at 5:54 pm |
    • kindness

      You are such a liar, repuglican.

      June 18, 2012 at 6:02 pm |
  12. PulTab

    Just throw a few young boys their way, and they will forget all about it.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  13. Jim in PA

    Let's tax the churches. If they, as organizations, insist on participating in the polticial process then they may as well help fund the government.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  14. The Catholic Church is the Most Disgusting Pile of SH!T in Human History

    and that's the truth, kids!

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

      You are clearly a disturbed individual. I suggest you get some help.

      June 18, 2012 at 6:04 pm |
  15. Reality

    The easy solution: PLEASE READ

    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. 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!!!

    June 18, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  16. Jatovi

    Separation of church and state. It's sad that we're looking to religion to make our laws.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Reality

      Some 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 18, 2012 at 5:43 pm |
  17. SoFunny

    Amused by Gay Guy comments, he's probably a closeted priest or republican. Anyway, this is a resaon why there are so many Catholics who don't support the BIG CHURCH. Just look at what the nuns have done, and they get slapped down by the BIG CHURCH, now they are fighting back. Nuns and others know or are begining to realize that the answer's does not lie with the BIG CHURCH.

    Who wants to follow a NON-CHRISTIAN MORMAN, they do not believe in one GOD, if you doubt that ask your friendly priest, preferably with other people around!

    June 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • Gay Guy


      June 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  18. Bill, Bloomington Il

    Breaking News. Obama is requiring people to be a certain weight according to their height. Liberals all approve as they cannot think for themsleves.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  19. Jean Sartre

    Catholics or any religious group simply do NOT have a say in this issue; religion and its cretins should stay in church!

    This is clearly a secular issue and people who believe in the imaginary guy in the pie or sky do NOT belong in it!

    Obviously, the Catlickers think this is Iran!

    June 18, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
    • MrBo

      There are thousands of catholic-run hospitals in the country. So yes, even though you might not like it, they so have a say on the issue as far as it concerns their employees.

      This is not about public policy per se, or services rendered to patients in these hospitals, it's about the coverage they offer their employees.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Veritas

      It IS a secular issue because it concerns Catholic businesses stoopid!

      I'll bet you're all for gays and lesbians demanding to change the laws of the land ?????? Just not Catholics, eh? You bigotted little weasel!

      June 18, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      So you prefer we just stay in our church's and write checks for your birth control huh? And you wonder why people accuse liberal of being anti-American.

      June 18, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • Reality

      Some 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 18, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      No Billy boy. You're not writing checks for anything. It's revenue neutral. Now shut up. Liar.

      June 18, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  20. Jim in PA

    This just in! Catholic leaders have removed their support from GOP politicians, citing an irreconcilable difference on the issue of the death penalty. KIDDING! That has nothing to do with scary lady parts, and is therefore not a top concern of the church.

    June 18, 2012 at 5:33 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.