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
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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. Char from Ohio

    I am an embattled RC christian and would like to know why there are no women represented here when it's our bodies and consciences that the MEN in the RC church are nailing to the wall! My conscience is between me and my God and Obama was remembering his days when he worked the South Side of Chicago for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development and helped with folks in the clinics there!!! I think he has more care than the hierarchy!!!

    February 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      If you don't know why there are no female Bishops you can't be Catholic. On the long shot that you are genuine, go to RCIA. Things will clear up for you.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Crab Girl from Dungeness

      The way things are going, Catholic religion will have hardly any followers soon and will be even less relevant.

      And on the subject of relevance, their purple caps are really silly and they look like they're wearing bibs. How appropriate.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • sam stone

      because this is a boy's club, and no girls are allowed

      these celibate men (exept for a few romps with the alterboys) know better about women's contraception than do women

      don't you know? god was a man, and these boy riders see themselves as little gods

      at least their god knocked up a little girl

      they cannot risk children, so they go for the XY chromosone club

      February 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      No women represented, because they're following Paul, rather than Jesus.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:06 pm |
  2. What a bunch

    the usual suspects, book them Dano.

    February 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm |
  3. james

    Obama makes up his own rules. Religious freedom doesn't mean a whole lot to him. Its just his way or your the enemy as far as he is concerned. I am astounded at the number of Lemmings that folow him to the end of the earth. I hope the Catholic Church calls his bluff.

    February 7, 2013 at 5:01 pm |
    • Dippy

      It's, not its.
      You're, not your.
      Typical religious illiterate.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Akira

      Um, who is preventing anyone from practicing their religion? Certainly not President Obama. Nice try.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:11 pm |
    • sam stone

      obama doesn't support religious freedom? unlike, say, bush41 who said that he didn't think that atheists should be considered citizens or patriots?

      February 7, 2013 at 5:55 pm |
    • sam stone

      also, james, why did you capitalize "lemmings"? do you think it gives your drivel more credibility?

      February 7, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Surthurfurd

      While you are defending the Catholic church and religious freedom, I am sure you support them on their belief that people should be able to move to and live in any country without the government getting in the way.

      February 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm |
  4. Honey Badger Dont Care

    I dont know what these guys are worried about, they cant get their choirboys pregnant anyway.

    February 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm |
  5. Ken in MD

    How do you get to use "religious freedom" when you're running a business? It's not a church function or a religious ceremony, it's a business. If they said the minimum wage was against their religion, could they violate that, too?

    February 7, 2013 at 4:57 pm |
  6. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    The opinion of the Committee of Strange Celibate Men matters why? Why don't they focus on the Southern Hemisphere where, at least in a few places, they are taken seriously?

    February 7, 2013 at 4:52 pm |
  7. Reality

    Beyond petty politics and onto the nitty-gritty: (only for the new members of this blog)

    The reality of se-x, abortion, contraception and STD/HIV control: – from an agnostic guy who enjoys intelligent se-x-

    Note: Some words hyphenated to defeat an obvious word filter. ...

    The Brutal Effects of Stupidity:

    : The failures of the widely used birth "control" methods i.e. the Pill (8.7% actual failure rate) and male con-dom (17.4% actual failure rate) have led to the large rate of abortions and S-TDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the Pill or co-ndoms properly and/or use safer methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and S-TDs.- Failure rate statistics provided by the Gut-tmacher Inst-itute. Unfortunately they do not give the statistics for doubling up i.e. using a combination of the Pill and a condom.

    Added information before making your next move:

    from the CDC-2006

    "Se-xually transmitted diseases (STDs) remain a major public health challenge in the United States. While substantial progress has been made in preventing, diagnosing, and treating certain S-TDs in recent years, CDC estimates that approximately 19 million new infections occur each year, almost half of them among young people ages 15 to 24.1 In addition to the physical and psy-ch-ological consequences of S-TDs, these diseases also exact a tremendous economic toll. Direct medical costs as-sociated with STDs in the United States are estimated at up to $14.7 billion annually in 2006 dollars."

    And from:

    Consumer Reports, January, 2012

    "Yes, or-al se-x is se-x, and it can boost cancer risk-

    Here's a crucial message for teens (and all se-xually active "post-teeners": Or-al se-x carries many of the same risks as va-ginal se-x, including human papilloma virus, or HPV. And HPV may now be overtaking tobacco as the leading cause of or-al cancers in America in people under age 50.

    "Adolescents don’t think or-al se-x is something to worry about," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco. "They view it as a way to have intimacy without having 's-ex.'" (It should be called the Bill Clinton Syndrome !!)

    Obviously, political leaders in both parties, Planned Parenthood, parents, the "stupid part of the USA" and the educational system have failed miserably on many fronts.

    The most effective forms of contraception, ranked by "Perfect use":
    – (Abstinence, 0% failure rate)
    – (Masturbation, mono or mutual, 0% failure rate)
    Followed by:
    One-month injectable and Implant (both at 0.05 percent)
    Vasectomy and IUD (Mirena) (both at 0.1 percent)
    The Pill, Three-month injectable, and the Patch (all at 0.3 percent)
    Tubal sterilization (at 0.5 percent)
    IUD (Copper-T) (0.6 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Post-ovulation) (1.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Symptothermal) and Male condom (both at 2.0 percent)
    Periodic abstinence (Ovulation method) (3.0 percent)

    Every other method ranks below these, including Withdrawal (4.0), Female condom (5.0), Diaphragm (6.0), Periodic abstinence (calendar) (9.0), the Sponge (9.0-20.0, depending on whether the woman using it has had a child in the past), Cervical cap (9.0-26.0, with the same caveat as the Sponge), and Spermicides (18.0).

    February 7, 2013 at 4:48 pm |
    • Rina

      Yeah, let's go for abstinence. We all know how that works. Just ask Bristol Palin. These so-called catholics need to just go away. Really, catholic church? As many pedos that you have covered for and the nasty things your church has done over the years and you say you are losing your "freedom of religion"? Please God, protect me from your followers – especially the catholic ones.

      February 8, 2013 at 8:52 am |
  8. norma jean.

    Considering what we have been reading lately and hearing for years about the catholic religion. and its leaders ,..I don't want them telling me...my family nor my friends what to think. what to.do...or how to run their lives.. !THey are not nor will they ever be a part of my life!.....CATHOLICS....BACK OFF!!!!

    February 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Newtown


      February 7, 2013 at 4:51 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Topher! Newtown is not playing nice! But then he does appear to be the idiot here as he was not able to enunciate why he does not agree with norma j.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:54 pm |
  9. ray


    February 7, 2013 at 4:43 pm |
  10. ray

    all you bishops , all you so called saints, YOU ARE NOT GOD i would love to know about you so called saints back ground. REMEMBER YOU MORONS OF BISHOPS ARE NOT GOD

    February 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
  11. Sandra

    Big COLORFUL bunch of Pedophiles...

    February 7, 2013 at 4:36 pm |
    • just wondering

      How is it you are such an authority on pedophilia?

      February 7, 2013 at 4:39 pm |
    • Tommy

      I learned about pedophiles when I read the autobiography of a fella named just wondering. What a sicko.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:42 pm |
    • sam stone

      They are FAAABULOUS

      February 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm |
    • Willie

      how is the escort business sandra?

      February 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  12. Bootyfunk

    is the photo above a group of virgins or pedophiles?

    February 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • just wondering

      Why don't you look into a mirror and compare ?

      February 7, 2013 at 4:37 pm |
  13. Richard

    I say we should line up all those bishops and have them bend over and grab their ankles and give them what some of their priests gave innocent children. they are a bunch of bigots who pervert the teachings of Jesus for their own gain. They look so cute in all their regalia!

    "excatholic and proud to be"

    February 7, 2013 at 4:26 pm |
    • just wondering

      Why don't you complete your transition to non human?

      February 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • TANK!!!!

      "give them what some of their priests gave innocent children. "

      Yeah......................I think jailing them would be better.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
  14. Jack

    The role of the church and religions in this country is to preach and offer spiritual guidance but they have no place in dictating gov't policy. Unless they want to begin paying taxes. I'm getting tired of all these religious groups in this country trying to create a theocracy. This is a spiritual, secular society. Not a religious cult. It was founded by enlightened men influenced by the secular believes of revolutionary Europe. They were agnostics. Religion's place in politics is to advise and counsel not to create policy.

    February 7, 2013 at 4:19 pm |
    • Ron

      Exactly, pay up like the rest of us, or obey the law of the land, Catholic church. Stay the hell out of politics; that is not your business.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:20 pm |
    • alias

      Very well said jack.
      But to be fair, they could use a different picture of the Bishops.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:28 pm |
  15. Tommy

    The problem the Bishops have is that most Catholics don't care what they have to say about contraception.

    February 7, 2013 at 4:10 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Don't bet on it.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:34 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Where ARE all those families with 7, 9, 13 kids ? Pretty rare these days. I'd say most are ignoring the Bishops.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:38 pm |
    • Tommy

      I went to a catholic high school and I don't know anybody who doesn't use contraception, and while I'm not Catholic the vast majority of the people I know are, and without fail they all use contraception or birth control of some kind.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:41 pm |
    • Jen

      Surveys show that over 80 percent of Catholics find no moral issue with contraception. Makes sense since I have never met a Catholic that has an issue with it. Sorry Bill, not every Catholic thinks they are going to h-ll for things like m-sturbation like you do.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:55 pm |
    • Tommy

      I imagine the younger the person is the less likely they are to have an issue with birth control.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Sorry to call you out again Jen but "going to hell for master bation" is just another one of your straw men. Do you even understand what I mean when I point them out to you or are you just incapable of not using them?

      Tommy, I suspect you are right. The old guard understands the fundamental teaching behind the proscription against artificial birth control but the younger crowd is wooed by the promise of seex without commitment, connection or consequence that is closed to life. Still, there is a resurgence in pro-life awareness among some young people. The battle over the ACA is drawing into better definition why Catholics believe what they do. So, in that sense, adversity has strengthened us.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:21 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      Birth control is a fantastic display of christian, perhaps unique to the RCC, hypocrisy. Good little christians bob their heads in unison when their butts are in a pew, but then go out and use contraceptives (at virtually100% rate), have premarital s3x and have over 500,000 abortions per year in the USA. And they think we nonbelievers deserve to go to their hell!

      February 7, 2013 at 5:44 pm |
    • Susan StoHelit

      Yep – Catholics don't listen to the Bishops nor the Pope about contraception.

      They've done surveys – guess what – Catholic women use contraception at the same rate as other American women. Because they know nonsense when they hear it.

      February 7, 2013 at 7:09 pm |
  16. Akira

    So sick and tired of the hypocritical sex police.

    February 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      In all sincerity Akira, just for a moment, try not to think of it as seexual repression. To Catholics, the seex act between husband and wife is a sacred act of ultimate sharing. Since God is a God of life, that sharing is thwarted if it is not open to life. This is a simplified version of the theology behind the proscription against artificial birth control. It frustrates the connection between husbands and wives and reduces the seex act to a vulgarity. It's not about policing anybody. It's about elevating people from the mundane into the sublime. You may not accept the practice, as indeed many Catholics have abandoned it. But that is the teaching and it is valid.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm |
    • Bill Deacon's Translator

      What Bill really means, "The RCC needs a continuous supply of young, impressionable minds to fill our ranks. In order to do that, we must convince people that sex is a sin unless it results in a new potential victim, er, we mean precious child. All married couples must have as many children as possible, whether they can provide for them adequately or not. This will ensure an unending stream of fresh meat, er, we mean souls for the glory of gawd."

      February 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Irene

      That's really lovely, Bill. Really. Sublime, even. But here's the rub. I'm not Catholic. I'm not Christian. So why do you want me to live by the rules of your God? He's not my deity, but you and yours seem to think that everyone should be living according to the rules set down for His followers.

      Why should my health insurance coverage be any concern of yours, much less my se x ual activities or state of my reproductive system? Why do you feel that my employer has the right to push their religious beliefs on me–because that is what this is. Does this mean employees of Jehovah's Witnesses can be denied coverage for blood transfusions? Or employees of Muslims can be denied coverage for pig heart valve transplant or seeing eye dogs? Where does it end?

      February 9, 2013 at 3:39 pm |
  17. pkrbkr3

    Anyone notice that these are all MEN? I am a cradle and practicing Catholic, but I am appalled at the stance of my church regarding women and their reproductive rights!

    February 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • Saraswati

      Then why do you stay? Have you really aevaluated what other religions may better match you beliefs?


      February 7, 2013 at 4:35 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      If you are indeed a Catholic, you are a poorly informed one. I suggest a good RCIA class or reading of "Theology of the Body" by John Paul II and "Humana Vitae" by Pope Benediict. You will understand what is going on and make a better choice if you decide to leave. But don't let your lack of knowledge drive you away from the mass.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:29 pm |
    • HotAirAce

      I think Billy D meant to write "from the mass delusion."

      February 7, 2013 at 5:31 pm |
  18. sam stone

    If alterboys could get pregnant they would change their tune

    February 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
  19. HotAirAce

    And no one, except maybe Billy D, is happy with how this group of delusional criminals protected children. Fuck 'em!

    February 7, 2013 at 3:48 pm |
    • captain america

      And what business is it of yours what position our President takes. You don't live here or contribute jack schitt to our American way of life, F em you say ,we say F you. There's your sign

      February 7, 2013 at 3:53 pm |
    • sam stone

      CA: I am an American. F you....there's your sign. You are an annoying cvnt

      February 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm |
    • captain america

      sam if you're an American the real patriots are ashamed of you. Go kiss some more canadian butt. There's your sign.

      February 7, 2013 at 3:58 pm |
    • hawaiiguest


      Still can't find a life or people that want to subject themselves to your bigoted evil presence I see. How sad for you. I've always wondered, is it hard work to be as pathetic as you are?

      February 7, 2013 at 4:01 pm |
    • sam stone

      CA: Eat the business end of your sidearm. There is your sign

      February 7, 2013 at 4:03 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      I'm not happy about anything criminal but I am pleased that the Bishops seem to understand more about the intent of the Constiitution than the administration does.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:33 pm |
    • Akira

      I see nothing that is violating the Constitution, BD; people are free to practice their religion as they see fit.
      Where, in this mandate, are they denying that? They're not. You are free to not practice birth control; so is every one else. This has been pointed out to you repeatedly.

      February 7, 2013 at 4:49 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Am I free not to pay for yours?

      February 7, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  20. The Truth

    Well of course they aren't satisfied, Obama is way older than their preferred victims...

    February 7, 2013 at 3:38 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.