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White House Bends On Birth Control Requirement For Religious Groups

Under increasing pressure, the White House has offered what it's calling an "accommodation" to religious groups on a requirement to cover birth control free of charge.

Even some Democrats, who generally support the policy of requiring most employers to offer no-cost contraception, were unhappy with the rule's reach.

But the change unveiled by the White House isn't expected to completely quell the uproar raised by Catholics and others who say the policy violates their freedom of religion.

The change would allow employers that have religious objections to offering contraception as part of their health plans to turn the responsibility over to insurance companies instead.

As a result, "nurses, teachers, janitors and others" who work for religious-based hospitals, universities and social service agencies "will still have access" to contraception without having to pay a copay or deductible, a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call Friday morning.

But at the same time, he said, "religious liberty will be fully protected."

Women's groups were cautiously pleased with the change.

"We believe the compliance mechanism does not compromise a woman's ability to access these critical birth control benefits," said Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards. "However, we will be vigilant in holding the administration and the institutions accountable for a rigorous, fair and consistent implementation of the policy, which does not compromise the essential principles of access to care."

Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, which oversees more than 600 Catholic hospitals, praised the change in a statement.

"We are pleased and grateful that the religious liberty and conscience protection needs of so many ministries that serve our country were appreciated enough that an early resolution of this issue was accomplished," she said. "The unity of Catholic organizations in addressing this concern was a sign of its importance."

Before the change, the Rev. Tom Reese of Georgetown University's Woodstock Theological Center told NPR there was no reason for Catholic bishops to settle on the issue, because they've been winning the public relations battle. "They're getting support from progressive Catholics and conservative Catholics," Reese says, "so the bishops are on a roll."

Comments

Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 10, 2012 at 9:26 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Don't give in to the Cult Crazies!

I'm so tired of this push by mainly right wing dopes to try and bring theocracy to our government.

Mainstream America, who is against a government dictated by religion, needs to stand up against these Cults.

Not only should Obama **not** reverse this, he should follow-up by instructing Congress to introduce a bill to take away tax exemptions for ANY religious organization that is active at all in politics.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 10, 2012 at 1:04 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

The catholic Cult is even out of touch with its own members.

The vast majority of Catholic women of child bearing age use contraception.

One more example of an out of touch Cult trying to radically and un-realistically force society backwards.

These people are living in the Dark Ages.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | February 10, 2012 at 1:23 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

"Even some Democrats, who generally support the policy of requiring most employers to offer no-cost contraception, were unhappy with the rule's reach."

This was a smart and well-tempered move by the Obama Administration. Following the lead of the "in your face" ideologues, would have proved detrimental for the president come November.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | February 10, 2012 at 3:03 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Duck, you must be either an resentful ex-Catholic now Jehovah's Witness, an Evangelical Protestant fundamentalist a la Jack T. Chick, or a Rastafarian to label Roman Catholicism a "cult.' They are the only ones that do.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 10, 2012 at 4:56 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

Mission, the extremists have turned Catholicism into a cult. I was raised Catholic, and the hypocrisy that exists in the church is disgusting and is about as far from what one would consider good willed as you can imagine.

Now with that said, there are some very good people I know who are Catholics. They are moderate and they worship in the Catholic church but readily point out the hypocrisy and flaws in the church.

I get extremely frustrated with religion meddling in government and science, and that is what pushes me to referring to these organizations as Cults.

They brainwash people, convincing them science is bad. They hinder society, they hamper progress.

The stem cell debate back during the Bush era was one such area that really, really made me angry. We fell behind in our scientific progress as a nation because of religious zealots, and are still trying to play catch-up.

And now we have contraception coming to the forefront of our political discourse when we have so many **more important** things to talk about?

This discussion was settled back in the 70s, and now we are being forced to have it again because of the Cults!!

It's clear what is happening here.

Republicans have lost the debate on the economy, and lost the debate on defense.

So now that the economy is showing signs of improvement, they have to resort to social issues and declaring some wacky war on religion.

Our country gets bogged down with this kind of crap.

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | February 10, 2012 at 8 p.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

There is hypocrisy EVERYWHERE. What's your point?

If you are talking about parishoners, well there are plenty of "Cafeteria Catholics." Like you or one of the posters said, many women using artificial birth control even though the teaching is against--regardless of what one thinks. Other examples are people like Roger Hedgefund and Sean Inanity, who oppose the Catholic teaching of "just war," favor the death penalty and are virulently anti-immigrant!

For you to say that is ONLY Catholics making noise about this, not only are you generalizing ONCE AGAIN, but you are acting just like those rightwingers. KOGO's La Dona Harpy, a self-described ATHIEST, takes the side of the Church on this issue because the Obama Administration has ONCE AGAIN gone too far and anyone with a bit of objectivity, can see this. Almost four years into Obama's term and Guantanamo is still operating and no immigration reform in sight, yet within a week of his presidency, Obama reversed the so-called "Mexico City policy" which freed abortion related funds in foreign aid. I am here reminded of of anti-nuke protestors and the issue of paying taxes that go for the building nuclear submarines. Quite a parrallel.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | February 11, 2012 at 12:29 a.m. ― 2 years, 10 months ago

So because one Atheist agrees with the policy I'm supposed to completely change my viewpoints?

This is about people who want to mesh religion and politics, period.

Churches, regardless of the denomination, operate in our country and under our government, not the other way around.

They shouldn't be setting policy, and they shouldn't be playing politics.

I'm far from the only one upset about this, and I don't understand why you think I need to agree with someone just because they are an atheist, I am speaking my own opinions.

If you think Obama is so poor, vote for Romney. He agrees with you that the policy was discriminatory and he also seems to share your views on abortion. Let's see how the country "improves" under the moral leadership of a President who welcomes CULTS to influence the oval office.

We might be in record deficit, and lagging behind in key indicators like education and technology, but come hell or high water the right wing idiots and their CULT allies will see to it we make women's health, gays marrying, and CONTRACEPTION the most important items of the day.

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