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. Catherine

    To Bill Deacon's Translator: Stop it! Stop it! My ribs hurt – especially the "I will now call you a poopy head." Thanks for the laugh.

    February 7, 2013 at 6:38 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      @Catherine......Plan on hurting the rest of the night. Bill likes to type. So Bill's translator will have plenty of material!

      February 7, 2013 at 6:55 pm |
  2. Williteverend

    Yes, the church may do good. But, then, they do stupid too. Please, clean your own house first, then speak of holy things.
    Otherwise, you become a "joke".

    February 7, 2013 at 6:36 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      There's isn't enough bleach in the world to clean that mess.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:56 pm |
  3. woman

    What is wrong with these old ( I only see white ) MEN? No birth control will only result in more pregnancies and more abortions. Isn't stopping a pregnancy better than killing a fetus? And freedom of religion should not negate the freedom of one's own body. They want to tell us what to do, but don't want the government telling them what to do. Hypocrisy alert!

    February 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      Trust me, there are black guys just as stupid as the guys pictured above. Ignorance truly has no bounds!

      February 7, 2013 at 6:59 pm |
    • breathe deep

      I'm actually wondering if the men featured in this photo are not simply "just as stupid" but rather the masters of their craft.

      February 8, 2013 at 12:21 am |
  4. Catherine

    Too bad. The Catholic bishops aren't satisfied about something that really is NONE of their business. Police your own priests, bishops. Leave women alone.

    February 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
  5. Reasonably

    Dear Catholic Bishops. Bugger off. This is politics, not your religion.

    February 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
  6. Leftcoastrocky

    I oppose the way the Catholic church treats women as second class people. I don't see any women in the photo.

    February 7, 2013 at 6:12 pm |
  7. Leftcoastrocky

    time to deny catholic church tax free status

    February 7, 2013 at 6:08 pm |
  8. John Stefanyszyn

    "...falls short of addressing concerns about religious freedom."
    Freedom of rights first...looking to the "god of fortresses" for protection of their self interests.
    The RCC has the "mark of liberty" on their forehead and worship the the lamb, the light of freedom that President Obama confesses.

    February 7, 2013 at 6:04 pm |
    • Ken Margo


      February 7, 2013 at 6:30 pm |
    • Reasonably

      You have the mark of tinfoil hat on your forehead.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:31 pm |
    • bobk52

      If I remember correctly christ is Greek for lord or anointed one.

      February 8, 2013 at 4:52 am |
    • northern light

      "If I remember correctly christ is Greek for lord or anointed one."

      He was also Jewish.....but if you ask the American populace if he was Jewish or Christian.....most would say Christian....nuff said

      February 8, 2013 at 5:24 pm |
  9. Maria Carvalho

    So? We are not satisfied with the Catholic Bishops' stance on women rights, contraception and child abuse, we are not satisfied with their silence in the face of injustice and their courting of right wing groups that only show on side of the issues. There are so many people not satisfied with them. Why are their little trantrums news? They news should be how the majority of Americans are not satisfied with them. For the record, this Roman Catholic woman loves her faith but gives her money to a women's shelter, not the spoiled princes of the church.

    February 7, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
    • midwest rail

      - standing ovation -

      February 7, 2013 at 5:54 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      I wish more people were like you. The less money the catholic church has, the less influence the church will have. Please keep YOUR faith. I can respect religious individuals that DO NOT push their views on others.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:57 pm |
    • Johnny Blammo

      I agree. Maria is on the right track. The problem with religion is not that people believe, but that they force it on others, in votes, in laws, and in trying to force the lunacy of creationism into schools.

      I am perfectly happy with religion if it is people minding their own business. Unfortunately . . .

      February 7, 2013 at 6:07 pm |
    • sam

      Thank you Maria!

      February 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
  10. Harvey D. Rabbit

    Anyone see the story today about the Catholic diocese of L.A., how it failed to turn over many of the court-ordered documents pertaining to its massive abuse scandal? The most potentially damaging ones were the ones missing.

    The hubris of the Catholic church is astounding. They continue to stonewall investigation into their crimes, then demand the president obey them.

    February 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • Akira

      I agree completely. The RCC hierarchy is FAR from the moral guides they continuously portray themselves as.

      February 7, 2013 at 6:34 pm |
    • northern light

      They have been able to get away with it for 2000 years ....why spoil your record for the sake of a few kids your priests have molested.......the image of the RCC is always paramount.....a few thousand lives ruined means nothing to them.

      February 8, 2013 at 5:30 pm |
  11. Ken Margo

    What relevance does any religion have. The middle east has been destroyed because of Islam.
    Christianity has the republicans by the throat. They have an approval rating in the teens.
    Why should anyone care about what these phony child molesters think.

    February 7, 2013 at 5:45 pm |
    • northern light

      "Why should anyone care about what these phony child molesters think."

      You should care because these people have the ear of your legislators and create laws with religious bias....ie abortion.

      They also have the ear of your education system and try to teach that the world is 6000 years old or that the biblical flood was a real historic event.....or that creationism is true.....

      Hitchens was right ...."religion poisons everything".

      February 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
  12. nothing new here

    People have been using various forms of birth control since ancient times. The methods were primitive, using herbs and other natural products, but mankind has sought to limit births for centuries.
    This practice is not going to go away, esp. since birth control is big business for BIG pharma. Personally, I agree with Governor Bobby Jindal. Birth control pills should be sold OTC, and there should be greater focus on education, esp. from non-profits and the general public.

    February 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      back then women only tried herbs or committed suicides, if they got pregnant out of wedlock, I doubt married people ever use any measures, population or large family was not an issue, people had ten, eleven, twelve kids.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:51 pm |
    • 4th guy to the left 2nd row

      looks like he overdosed on viagra and is trying to hide it.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:58 pm |
    • Fun

      And the guys on either side are trying to get a look at it...

      And is that Tim Russert a few seats to the left?

      February 7, 2013 at 7:03 pm |
    • IreneNY

      FYI – Bobby Jindal has added creationism to the school curriculum. He is controlled by the religions right. Creationism should be taught in church, religious education or bible school NOT in our public schools. We are NOT a Christian nation, we are a nation of many religions and no religion.

      February 8, 2013 at 12:02 pm |
  13. ???????

    How many are talking snakes ?

    Which ones are the talking donkey ?

    February 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
  14. Nice Outfits

    But did you notice each has a different sweet zombie jew on a stick around their necks.

    February 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
  15. Mohammad A Dar

    they are forgetting, may be they are major political force, but not the only one in America.

    February 7, 2013 at 5:37 pm |
  16. Popeferatu

    We only accept total domination and control for ourselves, and total subservience and obedience for everyone else.

    Everything else violates our freedom of religion.

    February 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
  17. Ken Margo

    The reason the catholic church is against birth control is because there will be less boys for them to molest.

    February 7, 2013 at 5:33 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Ken, you scuumbag!

      February 7, 2013 at 5:38 pm |
    • Bill Deacon's Translator

      Ken, you scuumbag!

      What Bill really means is, "Ken is right, but I need to defend my corrupt cult. I'll call him names and put my fingers in my ears."

      February 7, 2013 at 5:43 pm |
    • Ken Margo


      February 7, 2013 at 5:46 pm |
    • sam

      This is hilarious!

      February 7, 2013 at 7:04 pm |
    • Aldewacs

      Or: bishops don't need birth control because diddling little boys doesn't result in pregnancies.
      Ergo if we all behaved like priests and bishops, birth control would be unnecessary.
      Problem solved.

      February 8, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  18. Jrad

    Of course not. Anything that has to do with contraception is categorically resisted. Period.

    The only thing thing vatican would accept would be laws banning and criminalizing abortion. Hell, if they were in charge, I'd imagine abortion to be an express-lane to the executioner.

    February 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • nothing new here

      Outlawing abortion will only lead to more abortions. The thing is, the abortion industry will go back in the backalleys, and will be a huge black market, like street drugs and illegal guns.
      The Catholic Church will only be adding to the crime in this nation, and added expense to taxpaying citizens. The RCC needs to pay taxes.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Bet

      If altar boys could get pregnant, they'd install drive through abortion clinics in the sacristy.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:49 pm |
  19. Mohammad A Dar

    goons should be apologizing for their Catholic hospitals claiming "fetus is not a person",

    ........and the Bishop in third row from bottom and third from left, is clearly a gay , check him out, I am never wrong in my observation.

    February 7, 2013 at 5:22 pm |
    • Bet

      @ Mo

      What about the one in the bottom row, second from the right? He looks fabulous!

      February 7, 2013 at 5:26 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      Ya, he is up to something too

      February 7, 2013 at 5:32 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      After a consultation with the Archdiocese of Denver, St Thomas More Hospital did, in fact, apologize for their legal tactic which they described as morally wrong. As to the suspected Bishop, what's the problem there? He may very well be but he has taken a vow of celibacy and even if he offends that, it is a matter between him and his confessor. Orientation and behavior are two different things my friend.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:35 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      @Bill, if they need consultations, they are not true followers, they are sheep.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm |
    • Akira

      So, big deal. STM hospital apologized for using that defense. AFTER they won.
      "Him and his confessor". LOL! Getting forgiven by another priest? Please!
      How about addressing the fact that the RCC continually covers up the RAMPANT pedophilia? Does it detract from faith in God? Maybe not. But it sure does detract from the RCC being any kind of authority on morality issues.

      February 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm |
    • Mohammad A Dar

      @Bill, not too long ago LA Catholic Church said they would put out 15000 pages of s ex abuses in their church, do you still believe Bill "it is a matter between him and his confessor"?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:14 pm |
    • The Truth

      "After a consultation with the Archdiocese of Denver, St Thomas More Hospital did, in fact, apologize for their legal tactic which they described as morally wrong."

      This sort of reminds me of the fact that 80% of the abortions in this country are had by women claiming to be Christian, i'm sure morally they find it very wrong and just apologize profusely later. But i'm sure if the government would just make it illegal all those women would choose to stick to their moral principles just like the Catholic Hospital would have never used that "legal tactic" to defend themselves if the government just made it illegal...right Bill? It's the governments fault for making them get abortions or use the legal definition of when a child becomes human instead of the Church doctrinal one, right Bill?

      February 7, 2013 at 6:16 pm |
  20. Phil in KC

    "Catholic Bishops not satisfied with Obama’s contraception compromise". So? Of course they're going to object to any type of birth control. The Catholic church is so far out of touch on this issue that their stance has become irrelevant. Besides, their stand does not guarantee freedom, but take it away. I think my boots are gettin' wet and it ain't rain, contrary to what they may say.

    February 7, 2013 at 5:14 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      bladder control issues?

      February 7, 2013 at 5:36 pm |
    • Bill Deacon's Translator

      bladder control issues?

      What Bill really means is, "I have officially run out of any coherent thoughts. I will now call you a poopy head."

      February 7, 2013 at 5:47 pm |
    • Ken Margo

      L M F A O

      February 7, 2013 at 6:03 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.