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. Alien Orifice

    Maybe one of you geniuses can explain this to me. Ok, God is Jesus, Jesus is God. God wanted (needed?) to have a physical manifestation of himself on Earth and though he created the heavens and the Earth, Adam and Eve, he couldn't manage a “Jesus” so he knocked up a virgin by proxy who then gave birth to Himself and then he waited for himself to grow up so that he could preach the "truth" to those who would listen.

    Then he set up his own death (suicide) so that he could suffer on a pole to "die" (even thought he can't die) for the sins of all the many billions of people who would be born who had not yet committed any sins but for whom he has a plan and that plan includes sinning for some unknown reason so he needed to die for them. Then he becomes a ghost, takes a little trip to Hades to hang with the red guy and then he "rises" and walks about frightening people and then disappears after telling everyone he would return (an apparent lie) and never shows his face again.

    So my question would be, why?

    And I would offer up this counter possibility. Mary got knocked up by the blacksmith. Jesus was a cult leader. Jesus broke the law and was punished and died.

    June 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  2. JJ

    @ A Catholic-As you & I believe (that is still our freedom), those in darkness WILL see the light. It will be too late, & we could say "we'll have the last laugh". But there won't be anything funny about it. My beliefs aside, there is this issue of kindness-& if each would show some to another, maybe positive change would ensue. "Just be nice" never went out of style. (or has it?)

    June 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • Jen

      Telling people that use contraception (or have s-x EVER for that matter) that they are per-verts is not nice....

      June 18, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • A Catholic


      I didn't call anyone a per.vert.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • Jen

      Oh I'm sorry. People who have s-x are committing perv-ersions. Tell me – what would you call people who commit perv-ersions. Hmmmm....let me think about this one.....

      June 18, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  3. A Catholic

    Condoms break. They are also not 100% effective in preventing HIV and other horrible STDs.

    June 18, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @A Catholic
      Thank you for sharing the obvious with everyone. Let me join in:
      Cars crash.
      People die of cancer.
      Gangs kill people.
      Poop smells.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • howart Dao

      Try it sometimes, you will like it. Remember to put it on the right place ! 🙂

      June 18, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • Bet

      Why not just allow condoms and chalk the ones that break up to "god's will" that you get pregnant or diseased?

      June 19, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  4. Alien Orifice

    The vestiges of pagan religion in Christian symbolism are undeniable. Egyptian sun disks became the halos of Catholic saints. Pictograms of Isis nursing her miraculously conceived son Horus became the blueprint for our modern images of the Virgin Mary nursing Baby Jesus. And virtually all the elements of the Catholic ritual – the miter, the altar, the doxology, and communion, the act of "God-eating" – were taken directly from earlier pagan mystery religions.

    Nothing in Christianity is original. The pre-Christian God Mithras – called the Son of God and the Light of the World – was born on December 25, died, was buried in a rock tomb, and then resurrected in three days. By the way, December 25 is also the birthday or Osiris, Adonis, and Dionysus. The newborn Krishna was presented with gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Even Christianity's weekly holy day was stolen from the pagans.

    There is more evidence that the RCC invented and wrote the Bible to control the Jews than that Jesus actaully ever existed.

    June 18, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  5. JJ

    @ "Alien Orifice" (that IS telling)....are you saying I'm stupid & uneducated? That's bullying. AND-you'd be quite surprised to know who I am 🙂

    June 18, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      JJ, No, YOU said it. I just asked you why you were.

      Let me guess who you are....JJ Walker? Dynomite!

      June 18, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
    • howart Dao

      Jesus Jr. ? 😉

      June 18, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  6. howart Dao

    It is better to have a lot of poor children so that they can be subservient to the churcd

    June 18, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
  7. California

    Just another part of Husseins war on America.

    June 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • howart Dao

      Yes. Saddam Hussein wants to have a lot of babies to wage war on US. Thanks god that GW put a stop to it. Now it is Al Sadr's turn to produce his babies.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:14 pm |
    • California

      howart Dao – You're so dumb you don't even realize Obama's name when you see it.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
    • howart Dao

      YOu are so smart, so can see right thru my sarcasm !!!! KUDOOS

      June 18, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • California

      howart Dao – No. I just know stupidity when I see it and you're a classic case.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • howart Dao

      Thank you CaliXTian for being so wise as your lord had instructed.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:31 pm |
  8. Food 4 Thought

    If the lord is able to make a virgin pregnant without any s'x at all, why is he so insecure about being able to get around a simple contraceptive if he wants somebody to be pregnant?

    That God, what a hoot!

    June 18, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • A Catholic

      Ha! Contraceptives can and do fail every day. The jokes on you.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:09 pm |
    • Food 4 Thought

      So why not just use condoms and let the broken ones be our guide as to the pregnancies that are god's will?

      June 18, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  9. JJ

    Once again-this is sickening -the hateful comments,name-calling,& disrespect shown by people whose faces can't be seen. THIS is what's wrong w/our America. I'm not Catholic. I am a Christian. I'm foremost human & make mistakes & say & do things that are wrong. Do you hate me because I'm a Christian in a land of rich Christian history? Why such anger toward Christians? Why am I "stupid,uneducated,a troll,a moron.........."? Where's the tolerance? And where's the "moderator" with all this BULLYING? Would you like your child to read these posts?

    June 18, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      THAT is a great question! Why ARE you a stupid, uneducated moron?

      June 18, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • A Catholic

      I'm on your side, JJ. The hate and bigotry shown to Christians on this site is endless. But your being here shows that there are people of conscience in this country and our light will not be extinguished.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @A Catholic
      Sorry, but you have to have the light turned on before you can turn it off. Christians have been in the dark for 2000 years.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • LinCA


      You said, "Where's the tolerance? And where's the "moderator" with all this BULLYING?"

      There are no active moderators on this blog. All moderation is done via a list of banned words. There is just some shit you can't say on here. Words like "constitution", "vague" and "homosexual" will cause your post to disappear.

      But you can tell people to shut the fuck up, as long as you don't use any words on the filter list.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
  10. A Catholic

    Hormonal contraceptives have potentially deadly side effects.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:57 pm |
    • Jen

      Giving birth has (much higher) potentially deadly side effects.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • A Catholic

      From the Yaz website:

      YAZ increases the risk of serious conditions including blood clots, stroke, and heart attack. These can be life-threatening or lead to permanent disability. The risk of blood clots is highest during the first year of use. This increased risk is highest when you first start taking birth control pills and when you restart the same or different birth control pills after not using them for a month or more. Users of drospirenone-containing pills (like YAZ) may have a higher risk of blood clots than users of birth control pills that do not contain drospirenone. Talk to your healthcare provider about your risk of blood clots before deciding which Pill is right for you.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    • A Catholic


      How about saving s.ex until you actually want to become pregnant? Revolutionary idea, I know.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Jen

      Do you ever respond to posts or do you just keep posting the same crap over and over again?

      Women know the side effects of the pill. It comes with your prescription.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
    • Jen

      Well because Catholic, I only want three kids (I'm pregnant with my third), and I would like to have s-x with my husband more than three times in my life. Guess that makes me a per-vert.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      @A Catholic
      Yup, just like eating raw fish. But mmmm mm. It is SO good.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:08 pm |
    • A Catholic


      It's called chast.ity in marriage. Learn about it. And if you are not Catholic, I don't know what your problem is.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
    • Jen

      Why get married then? People that live together and don't have s-x are called roommates, not husband and wife. Studies have shown again and again that s-xless marriages are miserable.

      My husband is Catholic. He would laugh at anyone that said that you should remain chaste in a marriage. S-x is a normal, healthy human function. If you don't have s-x, it is either because you have no s-x drive (which is a medical condition and not normal), or you can't get any. I'm pretty sure I know what category you fit into....

      June 18, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
    • A Catholic


      I will ignore the ad homenim and simply say that your husband should not be going to communion in the Catholic Church.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
    • Jen

      NO, YOU should not be going to communion. Your church supports natural family planning. If you against your church on this then you are not a true Catholic.

      And judging my husband is a sin. My cat is more Catholic than you are.

      June 18, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
    • Jen

      'are against'

      June 18, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
  11. Alien Orifice

    God created the universe. Many billions of years ago, a life form evolved on a planet not so far distant and their scientists deduced the building blocks for life existed in the universe and from it, new life forms could be created. These ancient ones populated Mars with life and eventually, due to asteroid events over millions of years, life arrived here on Earth. We are a product of that primeval turbulence. Therefore, we must worship the Aliens, not God. The Aliens have to worship God. This is all true because I have faith that it happened just this way.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  12. A Catholic

    Contraception in all forms should be banned. It per.verts the sacred purpose of s.ex.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Bet

      Oh please. This is just bigotry disguised as gender discrimination disguised as se.xual oppression.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Jen

      So you must disagree with your own Church's stance on the use of the rythmn method. Because you can't procreate during this time period, the Church is sanctioning 'perver-sion.'

      And if you disagree with the Church, you definitely are not a Catholic.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • Alien Orifice

      I agree 100%! The sacred purpose of s e x is to get a BJ from a hottie. What chick is going to blow you with a balloon wrapped around your johnson? It is hard enough as it is! (no pun intended) And besides, overpopulating the planet will eventually happen anyway, so why not speed things up? Good call.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
    • sam stone

      Catholicism should be banned. It perverts the sacred purpose of god

      June 19, 2012 at 4:23 am |
  13. Steve

    The Catholic Church drop you is good, since history has shown that church is amoral.

    June 18, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  14. Jack

    Good evening. Everyone is welcome to visit ... thestarofkaduri.com

    June 18, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • *frank*

      Choke on a dick.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
  15. flavoter

    Well things are starting to finally coming together ladies yes MEN!!! Go figure of course these various religions are jumping on this issue against women’s rights and many will side with Romney.
    The GOP (good ole boys) have continually attacked women’s rights issues that not new. BUT!!! This time they have a weak candidate that was born and raised in the Mormon religion which has always seen and treated women as property "second class citizens"
    So all decisions are made by the men.. So with that up bringing its instilled in Romney to tell women what’s best for them... Because he's a man and knows what’s best for women.

    June 18, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      'issue against women's rights' – please. Women have a right to buy birth control if they want and they have a right to not be Catholic.

      This is an issue of Obama with such a radical agenda that hes digging his heels in trying to force Catholics to buy into his version of se-xual morality.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      70-80 % of Catholic women of childbearing age use birth control. You Jack, are being asked to do nothing. Butt out.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  16. Mike Blackadder

    There are many places in the world where Catholics are not free. Over the past two thousand years they've been murdered for no other reason than for practicing Catholicism (the majority in the 20th century alone).

    This is not the kind of thing that happens in the U.S. because it is a free country. People are allowed to hate Catholics and many people do, but here Catholics are allowed a voice. They

    June 18, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • Mike Blackadder

      ... also have rights to practice their religion. This is one reason why the supreme court is likely to reject Obama's legislation.

      June 18, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  17. God

    Wouldn’t the GOP love to get behind a guy who is a peaceful, radical, nonviolent revolutionary,
    who hung around with lepers, h00kers, and criminals, who never spoke English, was not an American citizen,
    a man who was anti-capitalism, anti-wealth, anti-public prayer (See Matthew 6:5), anti-death penalty
    but never once remotely anti-gay, didn’t mention abortion, didn’t mention premarital s e x, a man who never
    justified torture, who never called the poor ‘lazy’, who never asked a leper for a co-pay, who never fought
    for tax cuts for the wealthiest Nazarenes, who was a long haired, brown skinned (that’s in revelations),
    homeless, middle eastern Jew?
    Of course, that’s only if you believe what’s actually IN the bible.

    June 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  18. Rebel4Christ



    June 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  19. Bootyfunk

    way to stay living in the dark ages, catholics!

    June 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • A Catholic

      God does not change.

      June 18, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
    • mandarax

      And yet the positions of the Catholic church frequently do change. So which is it, A Catholic, does God change every once in a while, or is the Catholic church just sometimes wrong?

      June 18, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      Gods indeed do not change. They have always been ridiculous human inventions.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      Right, from the old to the new testaments, god does not change. Have some more sacramental wine, catholic

      June 19, 2012 at 4:25 am |
  20. clarke

    If you want or need bc pills do what you have always done, pay for them yourself. 4 dollars a month, yes they are there for 4 dollars . You pay more than that for a starbucks everyday. This is a catch 22, so we need to move on.

    June 18, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Blind leading the blind.

      If that's the case then the churches should pay taxes like every other business, since they don't want to follow laws placed by the government.

      June 18, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • A Catholic

      The government has no right to coerce a church to go against their conscience. Read the 1st Amendment.

      June 18, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • mandarax

      Ah, but the government (as the representative of the people) does have the right to require an organization that enjoys federal subsidies and a tax-free status to meet certain minimum standards for its employees.

      June 18, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      The federal subsidies are the biggest part. Government money cannot be used selectively or discriminately. Certain standards must be met for the organization, no matter who it is affiliated (the most important word in there, since an affiliate is not the church itself) with. If the church doesn't want to offer contraception, they need to give up government funds.

      June 18, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • A Catholic

      I feel certain that this will be struck down by the Supreme Court.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • HawaiiGuest

      Then the supreme court wouldn't be upholding the law.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Delusions 3:15

      Of course it will. The Supreme Court is a bunch of old Catholic men. Who cares ? 100 years from now the ground will have shifted, and birth control will be used by everyone, and will be $.02 a pill. A tempest in a teapot. Religion is dying fast. 100,000 years from now, no one will even know who Jeebus was, much less care .. when they are flying around in another galaxy.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:16 pm |
    • A Catholic


      You, my friend, have an apt screen name becuse you are delusional if you think anyone will be flying around in another galaxy.

      June 18, 2012 at 10:28 pm |
    • Georgia Tee

      This a easy fix, I've read in some comments....If the church doesn't want to cover contraception, DON'T take taxpayers money, everybody doesn't believe as you do....In the history of organized religion, church leaders and their followers have a very poor track record when it comes to following their own beliefs...Maybe, just maybe , you should try cleaning up the mess you tried to hide concerning your child abusing priest. Old white men telling a woman what she should do with their bodies, when they don't know what to do with the common sense GOD gave us all...

      June 18, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      a catholic: organizations do not have consciousnesses, they have policies

      June 19, 2012 at 4:27 am |
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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.