• Fri, Feb 8 2013

Compromise Wasn’t A Commandment: Catholic Bishops Reject Obama’s Birth Control Proposal

catholic cardinalsThe U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has made a decision about President Obama’s proposed compromise on the contraception mandate included in the Affordable Care Act. They’ve decided that they don’t want to compromise at all.

After more than a year of protests and lawsuits, the President came forward with a plan that would let religiously affiliated institutions like Catholic hospitals and universities file for an exemption of the contraception mandate. Insurance companies themselves would pick up the cost of birth control coverage for these institutions’ employees, because preventing unwanted pregnancy is normally a good thing for an insurance company’s bottom line. For the religious institutions themselves, they’ve already had a separate exemption where the government would pick up the tab for birth control coverage.

However, the Catholic Bishops don’t believe that Obama’s latest proposal goes far enough. They don’t want to compromise on the issue at all. Cardinal Timothy Dolan says that second exemption makes hospitals and schools “second-class citizens” in the religious organizational hierarchy. And that the new proposal still doesn’t address private business owners who don’t want to pay extra money for anything are morally against the idea of providing contraception covered.

Dolan maintains, ”We have been assured by the administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage. We remain eager for the administration to fulfill that pledge.” His comments prove that the Bishops are not expecting to do anything themselves to help with this process. They’re just going to sit back and keep demanding that less and less people are forced to provide coverage for a medical necessity that 98% of women will use at some point in time during their childbearing years.

The problem with this whole idea of a birth control compromise is that only one side really wants the measure to succeed. President Obama wants every woman to be able to access birth control, if they should choose to use it. The Catholic hierarchy does not want any woman to use birth control. I’m not sure that these two sides will ever really agree, no matter who is paying for what and which institutions are exempted from such and such.

The fact is, the birth control mandate has overwhelming support. Modern women in our country know and understand how important contraceptive access is. Hopefully, President Obama can find a way to appease the religious institutions who are opposed to the mandate. But if he can’t, I’m more concerned with helping families than with any Bishop’s moral objections that he wants to force upon thousands of women.

(Photo: lev radin/Shutterstock)

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  • Jen

    I think people should pay for their own birth control no matter where they work

    • CMJ

      When you pay an insurance premium you are “paying for your own birth control.”

    • Blooming_Babies

      You mean that $10,000 a year I pay for my families health insurance? Because there are plenty of medications covered that I don’t agree with. Good news for folks that want to use them, I’m not a doctor and it’s none of my business.

    • Jenna

      I do. I work 40+ hours a week. My insurance is part of my compensation.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      Why should they pay for a medication they require if medical insurance pays for other medications they might need? That’s the point of insurance.

  • chickadee

    As a former Catholic myself, I an entirely unsurprised that they are taking this position. This use of contraceptive pills is considered a sin, as is (I believe) any method at all barring the rhythm method. The RC church has been lagging behind our culture by multiple decades, and they show no sign of relenting. I remember reading an article in the early 2000s that said that the Pope even asserted that Catholics in African nations (or any with a high AIDS infection rate) were not permitted to use condoms because they were not proven to prevent the spread of AIDS. The church has its collective head in the sand, and it’s only the die-hards who stick to all the teachings.

    Their position is stupid and wrong-headed, but at least they are predictable.

  • Justme

    My mother was a Catholic youth minister for a decade while I was growing up. But there is still a reason my mother only gave birth to three children.

    • chickadee

      My parents were trying for SIX. But “God didn’t see fit to bless us with the last two,” to quote my mother. For which I am eternally grateful.

    • Justme

      Funnily enough, my mother, grandmother and great-grandmother (all lifelong devout Catholic women) managed to only have three children each…….

    • TheHappyPappy

      My step-grandma has 2 brothers who are %100 died-in-the-wool “it’s up to the Lord” believers when it comes to contraception (and not shy about preaching it, either). But, oddly enough, they both have only three children apiece. Me and step-grandma suspect that their wives (you know, the women who are being expected to sacrifice their health, time and energy to fulfill their husband’s beliefs) may not be as on board with the “as many as He sees fit to give us” mentality. So there you go, your mom, granny and great-granny are far from alone on this front. :-)
      On a sad note, I suspect my step-granny’s perspective might be based in part on the fact that her mother followed this principle and died giving birth to her ninth child. My poor step-granny was only five. :’-( Access to birth control really can be a life-saver sometimes.

  • Daisy

    For all the good aspects of the Church, why do they insist upon making themselves look as evil as possible? They could talk about the development and charity work they do, that they’re one of the world’s largest providers of education and health care, or the sense of community and spiritual guidance they give to a billion people worldwide. Instead they are constantly spouting their mouths off about their idiotic positions on things like birth control and gay marriage. I feel like my Church’s leadership should inspire me, not make me want to pretend I have nothing to do with them… :(

  • guest

    i bet the Pope wouldn’t agree with the Bishops.