Catholic Bishops not satisfied with Obama’s contraception compromise
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops on Thursday rejected the Obama administration’s revised mandates on contraception.
February 7th, 2013
03:34 PM ET

Catholic Bishops not satisfied with Obama’s contraception compromise

By Dan Merica, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='DanMericaCNN']

Washington (CNN) – The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops does not support the Obama administration’s revised proposal for providing insurance coverage for contraception, saying it falls short of addressing concerns about religious freedom.

In a response to the policy update announced last week by the Department of Health and Human Services, the church leaders said the policy offers “second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education and Catholic charities.”

“Because the stakes are so high, we will not cease from our effort to assure that healthcare for all does not mean freedom for few,” Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the conference, said in a statement. “We will continue to stand united with brother bishops, religious institutions, and individual citizens who seek redress in the courts for as long as this is necessary.”

Although the bishops identified the changes as a step in the right direction, they made it clear that they were not satisfied.

The proposed guidelines would allow religious-affiliated organizations opposing contraception to opt out of a federal mandate requiring that they provide their employees with insurance coverage for birth control.

The policy would give women at non-profit, religious-based organizations, like certain hospitals and universities, the ability to receive contraception through separate health policies at no charge.

CNN Belief: Obama proposal would let religious groups opt-out of contraception mandate

Following an uproar among religious institutions that didn't want to pay for contraceptives, the administration in March offered several compromise alternatives. The plan unveiled on Friday was a result of that effort.

The proposed update continued the administration's attempts to resolve the contentious issue of how non-profit organizations can decline to provide contraception coverage to their employees on religious grounds without facing a penalty.

An original mandate on providing contraception was part of the new federal healthcare law spearheaded by Obama, the Affordable Care Act. It required that insurers provide, at no cost to those insured, all forms of contraception approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

A number of high profile lawsuits have been filed against the federal government on the issue, including from the craft store giant Hobby Lobby.

CNN Belief: Hobby Lobby faces millions in fines for bucking Obamacare

A group of 43 Catholic organizations challenged the rules in federal court in May.

In Thursday’s announcement, Dolan also said the change in policy showed a “disregard of the conscience rights of for-profit business owners.”

As part of the new initiative, groups that are insured - such as student health plans at religious colleges - would be required to let their insurer know that certain participants would like contraception coverage.

“The insurer would then notify enrollees that it is providing them with no-cost contraceptive coverage through separate individual health insurance policies,” the HHS statement on the policy said.

Although the agency has not estimated final costs of the plan, it said that offering free coverage would actually lower expenses over the long term, partly due to improvement in women's health and fewer childbirths.

CNN Belief: Catholic groups sue over federal contraception mandate

Because the insurer would be covering the costs, the administration hoped the changes would allow religious organizations morally opposed to contraception to avoid paying for it.

The updated rules proposal will be open for public comment through April 8. The administration would then decide whether to make it final.

The Catholic Bishops indicated in their statement that they look forward to working with the administration on the final policy.

“We welcome and will take seriously the administration’s invitation to submit our concerns through formal comments, and we will do so in the hope that an acceptable solution can be found that respects the consciences of all,” Dolan said.

- Dan Merica

Filed under: Bishops • Catholic Church • Health care • Politics

soundoff (482 Responses)
  1. Science

    Free speech helps educate the masses................POLITICIANS too !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN


    Gravity is not up for debate !

    BY the way ...................Splat goes a fairy in the sky !...............bye bye tinker bell !

    Einstein's Gravity Theory Passes Toughest Test Yet..............................E = mc2..........(U–Pb).................two math formulas.

    Apr. 25, 2013 — A strange stellar pair nearly 7,000 light-years from Earth has provided physicists with a unique cosmic laboratory for studying the nature of gravity. The extremely strong gravity of a massive neutron star in orbit with a companion white dwarf star puts competing theories of gravity to a test more stringent than any available before


    Hey James Madison................religion has none it looks like.............with the comments on this blog.

    The Big question is ETHICS ! does religion have any ?

    The Ethics of Resurrecting Extinct Species

    Apr. 8, 2013 — At some point, scientists may be able to bring back extinct animals, and perhaps early humans, raising questions of ethics and environmental disruption.


    April 30, 2013 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |

    May 1, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |

    Dinosaur Egg Study Supports Evolutionary Link Between Birds and Dinosaurs: How Troodon Likely Hatched Its Young


    And NO ANGELS the pope KICKED them OFF the TEAM last year !

    From Soup to Cells—the Origin of Life


    the wrong path is Adam and Eve !

    Human Y Chromosome Much Older Than Previously Thought

    Mar. 4, 2013 — The discovery and analysis of an extremely rare African American Y chromosome pushes back the time of the most recent common ancestor for the Y chromosome lineage tree to 338,000 years ago. This time predates the age of the oldest known anatomically modern human fossils.


    No god(s) needed or required to graduate from public schools in the US

    Remember : Adam had to POKE himself hard with his OWN BONE to create Eve.

    No god(s) needed................... Old. DNA works..................also catches crooks !

    Ancient DNA Reveals Europe's Dynamic Genetic History

    Apr. 23, 2013 — Ancient DNA recovered from a series of skeletons in central Germany up to 7,500 years old has been used to reconstruct the first detailed genetic history of modern Europe.


    Ca-nabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®) – National Cancer Insti-tute


    Mar 21, 2013 – [1,2] These plant-derived compounds may be referred to as phytocannabinoids. ... have a protective effect against the development of certain types of tumors. ... In lung cancer cell lines, CBD upregulated ICAM-1, leading to ...

    Good stuff !

    The fact...............the earth is to old for this nonsemse ! Time to EVOLVE !

    Ancient Earth Crust Stored in Deep Mantle

    Apr. 24, 2013 — Scientists have long believed that lava erupted from certain oceanic volcanoes contains materials from the early Earth's crust. But decisive evidence for this phenomenon has proven elusive. New research from a team including Carnegie's Erik Hauri demonstrates that oceanic volcanic rocks contain samples of recycled crust dating back to the Archean era 2.5 billion years ago. Their work is published in Nature.


    For what...................... ? Make sure to read what the pope said !

    Where do morals come from?

    By Kelly Murray, CNN


    Learning is fun with facts.......................... and facts work when teaching children.

    Atheist Prof. Peter Higgs: Stop calling Higgs boson the ‘God particle’

    Professor Peter Higgs said recently that there is no God and so people should stop referring to the theoretical partial that
    bears his name as the “God particle.”


    Pope praises science, but insists God created world updated Thur October 28, 2010
    Stephen Hawking is wrong, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday – God did create the universe. The pope didn't actually mention the world-famous scientist, who argues in a book published last month that the laws of physics show there is no need for a supreme... \



    Heaven is 'a fairy story,' scientist Stephen Hawking says updated Tue May 17, 2011
    By Dan Gilgoff, CNN.com Religion Editor The concept of heaven or any kind of afterlife is a "fairy story," famed British scientist Stephen Hawking said in a newspaper interview this week. "I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when...


    April 7th, 2012

    08:32 PM ET

    The Jesus debate: Man vs. myth


    Make sure to read comments

    April 18, 2013 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |

    Breaking News

    NASA: Three planets found are some of best candidates so far for habitable worlds outside our solar system.


    NASA: Mars could have supported life

    Star Dust we are



    Holy Hallucinations 35


    BBC. Planet of the Apemen. Battle for Earth 1. Ho-mo Erectus


    BACKFILL on E =mc2.....

    Einstein letter, set for auction, shows scientist challenging idea of God, being 'chosen'

    By Jessica Ravitz, CNN

    Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist – Albert Einstein – was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

    “The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”


    May 4, 2013 at 6:47 am | Report abuse |

    May 4, 2013 at 6:52 am |
  2. Faithful59

    I object to my tax dollars being used to pay for murdering of innocent and defenseless babies. Obama and co would like to focus attention on the banning of assault weapons. Fine with me but if we are going to talk about protecting innocent children from murder, then lets include eliminating state sponsored abortions. Far more children are killed every day this way than through insane kids with guns roaming the halls of schools. We don't want either kind of child murder. Why is one OK when we label it freedom of choice? Murder is murder, you can't change that by applying a pleasant sounding label.

    March 5, 2013 at 4:15 am |
    • End Religion

      "Murder is murder, you can't change that by applying a pleasant sounding label."

      Fortunately, in the U.S. secular law and our courts determine what is murder, not your impotent immoral god or your fictional bible.

      March 5, 2013 at 4:50 am |
  3. Rev. Rick

    They're not happy? Now that's news! Whinw, whine, whine...

    February 12, 2013 at 12:06 pm |
  4. AVB

    @midwest rail
    christians in general

    February 11, 2013 at 11:36 pm |
  5. krkhgkzcy

    readers: please replace "too" and "their" with my erroneous "to" and "there".
    There, it's all better.

    February 11, 2013 at 12:15 pm |
  6. krkhgkzcy

    "The Catholic Bishops indicated in their statement that they look forward to working with the administration on the final policy."

    Excuse me?! Why? They want tax exemption (that excludes them from taking political stances) AND they want to dictate to the government how to legislate? These silly men have waaay to much relevance in the world. Make them all garbage collectors. I'd love to see them still dressed in their cute "look at me- I'm special" magic suits while there hangin' on to the backs of garbage trucks and tossing crap into the truck.

    February 11, 2013 at 12:12 pm |
    • Justician

      You should keep in mind that your lack of tolerance for anyone else's beliefs about anything makes their lack of tolerance for you acceptable. Do you really want a government that doesn't respect the personal beliefs of the individuals it serves? You are able to be obnoxious because in fact, the government is required to tolerate and in fact protect the freedoms of the individuals it serves. We are free because we are all free, not just because you're free.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:13 pm |
  7. Albert Rogers

    The Papal doctrine on contraception has no more right to religious toleration than the Papal doctrine of Galileo's time, that the Earth was the centre of all Creation.
    The inescapable fact is, that at the rate of human multiplication of the past 50 years, its world population will exceed 15,000 million by 2063. The Lord will provide for that, with disease and famine, unless the nations resort to atomic bombs for slaughtering each other. The doctrine against contraception is therefore IMMORAL.

    February 11, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • Justician

      Man is the ultimate proprietor of procrastnation. To assume our best destiny is to stay on this rock is to doom humanity to extinction as it's only a matter of time until some mass extinction event takes care of the overpopulation issue. I for one believe our best hope of pushing out into the universe IS overpopulation. I think the scinetist in you might recognize the principle as diffusion. A sufficient concentration of humanity will be necessary to cause it to spread out enough to survive. You may think your species does not deserve to exist. I do.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
  8. brad

    Anything to take the attention off of priests molesting little boys huh. Tell you what church, fix that problem and then we can talk about your issues. Until then shut up.

    February 10, 2013 at 6:53 pm |
  9. gijames1225

    Good for them. I object to the health insurance laws on the grounds of human rights to freedom and decisions making, but if it tramples of religious rights to then go get 'em Catholics!

    February 10, 2013 at 6:15 pm |
    • judith A. Bradford

      Pay attention! Stop letting the Catholic church think for you. The choices are provided by the affordable care act. If a person chooses not to use contraception, for what ever reason, he or she can choose not to do so. It is a choice...oh I see..people raised in the Catholic church are not familiar with choosing for themselves on most issues. That's what threw you, ugh? True spirituality comes from within...not from some man in a funny costume telling you how to live...have you ever heard of Jim Jones? It is all the same thing.

      February 11, 2013 at 9:22 am |
  10. jbs

    Religions leach off the rest of us.


    February 10, 2013 at 1:33 pm |
    • gijames1225

      That's hilariously random and idiotic. How do religions leach off of people? In America, religion is voluntary, and do you want to tax children since they 'leach off the rest of us"?

      Sorry, but it seems like you are being randomly anti-religion for, at least if I go by your professed reasons, stupid and untrue causes.

      February 10, 2013 at 6:13 pm |
    • brad

      Exactly, remember when GWB put up federal dollars to churches under his faith based initiative program ? Those were my tax payer dollars going to something I dont believe in. No one seemed to care when I complained so why should I care when they complain.

      February 10, 2013 at 6:54 pm |
  11. Thinker

    When the churches start paying taxes, then they can complain about secular policy. Until then they should shut up. They have no right to force their religious beliefs on those who may not follow the same dogma. It is another example of the churches forcing discrimination upon those who don't subscribe to their teachings. Besides, if their religion is so strong, why do they worry. Don't they have confidence in their own members, and their own teachings?

    February 10, 2013 at 8:47 am |
    • gijames1225

      But the government has the right to force people to pay insurance on the government's terms? How is that fair? Let the religious folk pay church taxes and such, but let's also keep the government from trying to run everyone's lives.

      February 10, 2013 at 6:17 pm |
    • Albert Rogers

      The opposition to birth control is not based upon any sort of moral or theological grounds, unless interfering with disease is also an interference with God's Will. But if it were, then the Catholic Chruch has no right to be running hospitals, and should sell them to the government.

      February 11, 2013 at 10:09 am |
    • Justician

      Albert Rogers...only true if you believe pregnancy to be a disease. This is unfortunately true of current medical standards. It is however a natural condition and a choice.

      March 3, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
  12. ronvan

    YES, NO, MAYBE, I KNOW, MAYBE I DON'T KNOW!!? In the "name of the holy father"? Does this refer to God or the Pope? Confession? Father, I have commited sin and murder! Say 10 hail marys and you are forgiven? Soooo, you have the authority to SPEAK for God and disobey the commandments? You revel in your dress and adornments, kiss the hands of superiors? Worshipping "false gods"? You speak and teach that "our way" is the "word of God? YET, you change positions depending on the times? You have your OWN city, government, police, banks, which are "protected" from outsiders looking in! YOU have the power to, excommuniate, followers who do not "tow the line"! You have "priests" and others who have commited sin, and abused our children, and the results have been a 'COVER UP", pay offs and have ONLY taken action when there was no other choice! DO NOT get me wrong, ALL religions have their problems, but it seems obvious that the catholic church is embedded with them!

    February 10, 2013 at 8:25 am |
  13. sciencelady

    Hey who told you guys in the third row you could take off your hats?

    February 10, 2013 at 8:21 am |
    • sciencelady

      maybe their voting...
      all of you who agree that we can stop focusing on women's health issues and feed the poor, take off your hats.

      February 10, 2013 at 8:23 am |
  14. Aristocles

    It's a conscience issue. Should someone be forced to pay for something they do not believe in? Should they be forced to cooperate in evil? Shouldn't the secular government pay for secular-minded health insurance policies? Why force religious people to violate their consciences just for the sake of a non-religious plan? Let the government insure this stuff.

    February 10, 2013 at 7:09 am |
  15. Reality

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    February 9, 2013 at 11:50 pm |
  16. Cat Holic

    I can understand why the bishops' position against O'care: contraceptives will cause a shortage of young boys.

    February 9, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Really

      SNAP = Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. An organization that provides a road to recovery for both boys/men and girls/women of abuse.

      February 9, 2013 at 6:23 pm |
  17. One L

    I think it's fair, having an opt-out option – not sure what the problem is

    February 9, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • gijames1225

      The problem is we live in an age where the federal government wants to be monolithic. Offering the freedom to opt out of mandatory insurance (or, god-forbid, choosing your own health insurance program) denies the government power they strongly want. This is statism at it's finest, and it's pathetic that people even question whether churches, citizens, corporations, or families have the right to make decisions for themselves and that the nation as whole voted that they do not and the government ought to decide for them.

      February 10, 2013 at 6:20 pm |
  18. dominique_martine

    I am not satisfied with the cover up of the highest ranking Catholic in Los Angeles, with his own real estate in the church down town for his tomb, and the rest of the cover ups during the investigations of the children abused. Why are they getting a say in anything to do with Health?
    Did they stand united in defending the kids they abused?

    February 9, 2013 at 3:55 pm |
  19. Tax religion and their property

    Religions leach off the rest of us. They take our tax dollar, government grants, and act as if they are doing good deeds. The use our roads, water systems, fire department, police department,.. Tax them as the businesses they really are and tax their property too. Each service they offer is a duplication of already existing services. And each of those services are poorly run.


    February 9, 2013 at 3:43 pm |
    • Really


      February 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • Reality

      There are different opinions as to what a religion really is or what a non-profit is and therefore all non-profits should file Form 990's. At the moment, religious groups are exempt. To be fair therefore, there should be no tax-exemptions for any group and that includes the Democratic and Republican Parties. Faith and community initiative grant monies should also be cancelled and there should also be no tax deductions for contributions made to charities and non-profits.

      February 9, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • Reality

      In order to pay down our $16 trillion debt, we need to redirect money used to support/control religions especially the christian and islamic cons and put it towards paying off our debt.

      To wit:

      Redirecting our funds and saving a lot of "souls":

      Saving 1.5 billion lost Muslims:
      There never were and never will be any angels i.e. no Gabriel, no Islam and therefore no more koranic-driven acts of horror and terror LIKE 9/11.

      – One trillion dollars over the next several years as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan will end.

      – Eighteen billion dollars/yr to Pakistan will stop.

      – Four billion dollars/yr to Egypt will end.

      Saving 2 billion lost Christians including the Mormons:
      There were never any bodily resurrections and there will never be any bodily resurrections i.e. No Easter, no Christianity!!!

      – The Mormon ti-the empire will now become taxable as will all Christian "religions" and evangelical non-profits since there is no longer any claim to being a tax-exempt religion.

      – the faith-based federal projects supported by both Bush and Obama will be eliminated saving $385 million/yr and another $2 billion/yr in grants.

      Giving to religious groups dropped 1.7 percent from 2010, totaling $95.8 billion, the report found. Religion is the largest single category of recipients.

      – Saving 15.5 million Orthodox followers of Judaism:
      Abraham and Moses never existed.

      – Four billion dollars/yr to Israel saved.

      – All Jewish sects and non-profits will no longer be tax exempt.

      Now all we need to do is convince these 3.5+ billion global and local citizens that they have been conned all these centuries Time for a YouTube,Twitter and FaceBook campaign!!!!

      February 9, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
  20. larryg

    I do not understand the Catholic Church stand against Birth Control included in an insurance policy. Insurance covers Breaking your Neck and I don't plan to use this part either. Catholics may choose to use these products anyway. They may always ask for forgiveness in Confession.

    February 9, 2013 at 2:57 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.