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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. Ken in NC

    Let the Catholic Church and the Muslim Faith take us back to the 12th century, the 2 of them duke it out and which ever one wins will have control over women, how they are treated, raised, educated bought and sold. You guys had better hope and pray to your GOD that women don't get the idea to keep their legs closed till THEY get their freedoms back. They did it to get the right to vote and there was great suffering among men unil they gave in and let women vote. They did it then. They can do it again and I would not blame them.

    June 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  2. 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 3:55 pm |
    • dreamer96

      Jesus committed suicide..but suicide is a sin according to the church...
      Jesus had 12 male apostles and then women apostles too...the women were better..more faithful..but the men run the Catholic Church..ironic...

      June 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Maddie

      Amen

      June 19, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
    • Maddie

      Dreamer 96 he did NOT commit suicide he died for everyone even you who continues to turn away from him so you can continue in you evil lifestyle. One of the most worst sins is to reject the Holy Spirit. Your evilness will be brought to the light and if you do not repent you risk your soul be cast into the fires of hell.

      June 19, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  3. Jacques Strappe, World Famous French Ball Juggler

    South Park was right. It's another election between a giant dou-che and a turd sandwich.

    June 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  4. John _Atlanta GA

    The catholic church's unholy alliance with todays right wing extremsists is proof that christianity has failed and we are better off without it. Tax the churches and any other cult group that wants to play political games like these.

    June 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • janelasdedeus

      Actually, that was the plan all along...

      June 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Velk

      its everyone's right to religion! and if Catholics don't want to supply certain items in their hospitals give them the American freedom they have not to do it! socialized medicine sucks. just let the hospitals do what they want and if you want free baby killers then go to your local atheist hospital.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  5. John _Atlanta GA

    Burn the churches.

    June 18, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • dreamer96

      Wow John you just got yourself put on a list of crazy web posters, saying crazy talk..
      They can find out your real e-mail address, and home address, you know...

      June 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  6. dreamer96

    The GOP's right to life...ends at birth..from then on, the GOP just does not care about those little babies anymore...

    The GOP just likes getting it's hands on every woman's private parts and peeking in all of America's bedrooms...

    The GOP just wants a smaller, less intrusive government..Yeah Right...

    June 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  7. The_Mick

    Polls consistently show that 98% of Catholic women use or have used artificial birth control. The Catholic Church heirarchy is so out of touch with its membership – and is failing to even provide enough priests to minister to its flocks – that one wonders where it gets the time to organize such groups.

    June 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • bias bias everywhere and not a truth to speak

      that's not what it's about as a catholic. as a catholic we are free to pursue the life we want for ourselves. our church's teachings and our choices are not mutually exclusive. even when we don't follow our churches teachings, we don't like bullies messing with the catholic (ie. universal) church

      June 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • Ann

      The_Mick, the logic of your comment is like saying, Americans commit murder, so the American government should say it is okay and stop enforcing their laws.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  8. shades

    Obama is done, Jews, the military, and now catholics.
    All he has left is blacks, impressionable youth, and CNN idiots that will do whatever they are told

    I say 55-45 nationwide is about right

    June 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • MikeMazzla

      He still has us EDUCATED lower middle aged whites who actually have half a brain and dont believe in nonsense like religion

      June 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
    • bias bias everywhere and not a truth to speak

      mike lives in a city – probably in brooklyn – and believes the number of hipsters running around in tight jeans and chuck taylors is a sign of a greater movement. he has no clue that outside the city no one likes him or his president, president kardashian

      June 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Yeahyathink

      No Mike Mazzia , middle class knows this guy is after us. Most of the informed and educated Middle class citizens won't be stupid enough to re-elect this failure

      June 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
    • Hey You

      @MikeMazzla
      Apparently you are not EDUCATED enough to understand the economics of Pres. Obama's government policies. As the peercentage of the country that actually owes federdal taxes decreases, what do you think will happen to the tax rates of the soon-to-be minority to pay for all the government handouts?

      June 18, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
    • catimka

      Do you know that former or non-practicing Catholics number more than any religion, Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, etc.? Given that they usually leave because they get tired of being told what to do and how to do it, I doubt your statement has much truth.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  9. Trytobereasonable

    So, the Bishops got to the Catholic Health Association. Disappointed, but not surprised.

    June 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  10. MikeMazzla

    I have news for you...a huge majority of catholics, except maybe the old ones where contraceprtion doesnt matter are using them. The Catholic Church has their heads in the sands about this luducrous rule. They are saying they dont want to fund it but theyd rather not talk about how their "followers" are using them anyway. Religion in all forms is riduculous, but the Catholic Church seems to have a monopoly on really silliness.

    June 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • bias bias everywhere and not a truth to speak

      and some of those catholics pay for it themselves... as it should be. why make the church front it, or hide the ball by making the insurance company "responsible"

      June 18, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • Ann

      It's a morality. People have free will and do whatever they want. The Church doesn't force people to not use birth control. It simply sets a certain standard according to God's laws. Just because people use birth control doesn't mean they don't agree with the underlying teaching of it. It just means that our society has come to depend on drugs to regulate our bodies instead of relying on the cycle God created naturally. Some women have different reasons for using birth control, whether or selfish reasons or whether for unselfish reasons. We do not judge them for that. It's simply a moral standard teaching that all life is important.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  11. Sifleut

    Religion needs to go, proof again here of how it separates people. We're all one!

    June 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • MikeMazzla

      Totally..it may take a while but hopefully as the tounger generation continues to move away from religion it does happen

      June 18, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • Velk

      we arent all one goofball and there is no way we can be. where do you get that idea? from pop culture on TV? well it proven that all that is garbage

      June 18, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
    • Velk

      Religion is the backbone of all life. without it life would suck balls for eveyone.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Yeahyathink

      Again Mike Mazzia, Obama is losing the young voters of today. They want jobs and he has not supplied them, those recent 18 yr olds are much better informed than 4 years ago. We have seen him in action (inaction?) and are not going to vote for him.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
    • Sifleut

      Velk, thanks for proving my point!

      June 18, 2012 at 6:42 pm |
  12. Obvious Guy

    @ Tom

    I will have at it. I am terrified of these Mormons. They hate blacks, gays, muslims, jews, and anyone else you can think of. I mean, what other religion would lump together Hitler and Anne Frank to baptize both of them? That sounds terrifying. And Mitt ROmney supports this insanity and even gives them hundreds of thousands of dollars. With these "donations", this "charity" builds huge structures they call "temples" and Mitt Romney then writes it off in his taxes, and makes you and me pay for them. I barely pay for any of the churches or religions/conspiracy theories I believe in, why should I pay for his?

    June 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Dan

      All religion is whacky, let's not knock Mitt for his.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • catimka

      I knew virtually nothing about Mormons, but recently I read Under the Banner of Heaven, The Story of a Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer. It's non-fiction, a true crime story but to fill in the background of the people involved, he has told the history of the Mormon religion. What an eye-opener. I'd advise everyone to read it,

      June 18, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  13. California

    "I'd feel sorry for democrats if they weren't so stupid"~JG

    June 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Steve

      I love how Conservatives always prove the points of Liberals.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • California

      Steve – Likewise.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  14. DallasNE

    So the Catholic leadership exerted muscle to force the Catholic Health Association into withdrawing its support on this issue. Now how rotten is that?

    June 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Dan

      Very rotten, but very typical of the Vatican

      June 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • bias bias everywhere and not a truth to speak

      about as rotten as having no real long term immigration plan but pandering to mexicans in the next election by creating a temporary subclass of human

      June 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  15. us_1776

    Freekin' Catholic Church.

    They got more skeletons in their closet than a Halloween Costume Factory.

    .

    June 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  16. dreamer96

    Should say Obama loses key Male Catholic group..but gains key female Catholic support.....75 million Catholic men and women in America...the Catholic women will vote for Obama..The Catholic men that view their women as equals will vote for Obama..the Male Catholic Bishops and the Catholic men that think women are the property of the Catholic Church and their Catholic men with vote for Mitt Romney..

    June 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Nikki2012

      Very well said. I'm a Catholic woman and I don't know any Catholic women who have not practiced birth control at some time. The Church is way off on this issue – they are listening to the wrong people.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  17. A Catholic

    Vote for Romney! He will stand up for religious freedom.

    June 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Dan

      He'll stand up for big business under the guise of freedom, religious or otherwise

      June 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Steve

      No he won't. We have Religious Freedom in this Country. What we do not have is separation of church and state.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  18. California

    A vote for Hussein is a vote for Biden. Are you liberals realyl that 1diotic? Rhetorical question of course.

    June 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Steve

      It is hard to tell if your post is sarcastic or not. I like to think that you have a brain so it is sarcastic. I fear that you do not have a brain and are serious.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • dcase20

      CNN won't censor idiotic, you idiot.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  19. MarkR

    Considering we Catholics eagerly embrace birth control as a vital part of life, I doubt Obama needs to worry at all.
    Nobody really cares and that a good thing.

    June 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • bias bias everywhere and not a truth to speak

      we catholics, even the ones who only go to church on easter, don't like the dnc choosing to use our church as a pinata for personal gain

      June 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  20. ANOEL2005

    could this be the last nail in the Obama campaign coffin?

    hope so.

    June 18, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • Dan

      See Mark's comment above. Most Catholics are for birth control and don't care at all about this.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Steve

      Nope, it is the beginning of the end for marching back to the middle ages.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • whatajoke

      I sure hope you make over 250k per year. If not, you are a complete loser id iot voting against your own interests

      June 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • ANOEL2005

      the Church and affiliated groups shouldn't have to allow coverage for contraceptives/abortions in their plans if it goes against their religious beliefs.

      I'm Catholic and I resent it.

      Vote Romney for religious freedom.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • shades

      I hopes o too anoel, our great country deserves better than Hussein Obama,
      still time to regroup, and we will

      June 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • ANOEL2005

      practicing Catholics , like myself, care about this a lot.

      June 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • Dan

      Then I suggest you get a new hobby. Maybe helping those who are less fortunate, like Christians are suppose to do

      June 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • CB

      ANOEL2005
      Catholic Hospitals and Catholic Universities receive taxpayer money. They employ people who are not Catholic. Now whose religious freedom is being infringed upon? I'm not Catholic and I resent it. Perhaps they should stop taking public money and start paying taxes.

      June 18, 2012 at 4:15 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.