On Friday night, just a few hours after President Obama presented his compromise plan that would place the burden of paying for contraceptive health care on the insurance companies and not on the religious institutions that oppose such coverage, Catholic bishops said they would not support the compromise.
The new law which was passed as part of the Obama 2010 healthcare reform bill requires employers to provide birth control coverage to employees, only exempting religious houses of worship. Organizations with religious affiliations, such as hospitals and universities, were still required to provide birth control to their employees. This state of affairs was rejected by the religious institutions, and that is when Obama proposed his compromise plan.
The Bishops statement rejecting the compromise states that they do not believe their concerns were properly addressed by the new policy of having the insurance companies cover the cost of birth control. The change was proposed to insure that women working at religious schools and hospitals that would like to be provided with birth control will still be able to receive it just like women working at secular institutions will have access.
“These changes require careful moral analysis, and moreover, appear subject to some measure of change. But we note at the outset that the lack of clear protection… is unacceptable and must be corrected,” the statement said.
The bishops are actually unhappy with the overall mandate and not only by the changes that affect religious employers. The mentioned their “grave” concerns about covering the cost of the morning after pill and sterilization.
“We note that today’s proposal continues to involve needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions, and to threaten government coercion of religious people and groups to violate their most deeply held convictions….The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is… to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services,” wrote the bishops.
A number of Catholic organizations were happy with the Obama compromise, including the group called the Catholic Health Association and Catholic Charities USA.