NPR : News

Filed Under:

Catholic Bishops Reject Compromise On Contraceptives

It seems the third time wasn't the charm, after all.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has officially rejected the Obama Administration's latest attempt to ensure that women with health insurance get access to no-cost contraceptive coverage without violating the rights of religious employers.

The administration issued the rules last Friday. While other groups that oppose abortion and birth control immediately dismissed the proposal, the influential bishops held back, saying only that they "welcomed the opportunity to study the proposed regulations closely."

Now, however, it's clear that this attempt by the administration doesn't clear the bar for the bishops, either.

The proposal calls for insurance companies — rather than religious hospitals, universities or charities — to provide contraceptive and sterilization coverage. But that's not good enough, said a statement from Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the conference.

"It appears that the government would require all employees in our 'accommodated' ministries to have the illicit coverage — they may not opt out, nor even opt out for their children — under a separate policy," Dolan said.

He also complained that while the rules seek to accommodate nonprofit religious employers (including churches themselves, which are exempt from the coverage requirement, along with affiliated entities like educational institutions), they don't relieve for-profit employers of the obligation.

"In obedience to our Judeo-Christian heritage, we have consistently taught our people to live their lives during the week to reflect the same beliefs that they proclaim on the Sabbath," said Dolan, referring to owners of non-religious businesses who are suing the federal government because they say the coverage violates their personal religious beliefs. "We cannot now abandon them to be forced to violate their morally well-informed consciences."

Compared with some of Dolan's previous complaints about contraceptive coverage requirements, the latest statement was more measured. "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," he said.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

When Caravaggio Plays Quevedo In Tennis, The Court Becomes A Sonnet

"It's a little space, well-measured and precise, in which you have to keep the ball bouncing," says Álvaro Enrigue. His book, Sudden Death, pits the Italian painter against the Spanish poet.
WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

WAMU 88.5

Does "Made in DC" Matter?

D.C.'s first bean-to-bar chocolate maker, Undone Chocolate, got its start in local food incubator space Union Kitchen, part of a wave of interest in locally made products which includes a push for a "Made in DC" logo.

NPR

Password Security Is So Bad, President Obama Weighs In

In unveiling a sweeping plan to fund and revamp cybersecurity, the president asks citizens to consider using extra layers of security besides the password.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.