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Boehner Fights Contraception Rule; Catholic Women Speak Up

Boehner Fights Contraception Rule; Catholic Women Speak Up
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At the end of January, the Obama Administration refused to change a rule requiring that Catholic institutions provide health insurance coverage for contraception for employees at no additional cost.  After Catholic organizations both conservative (including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops) and liberal raised an outcry, the White House announced that it would seek to make the rule “more palatable” to religious-affiliated institutions including Catholic colleges and universities.

One possible strategy currently in use in Hawaii would be to let some employers make side insurance plans — which would not be directly paid for by the actual institutions — available. In the case of Hawaii, employees are charged a nominal fee but do not actually end up paying anything extra.

Biden and Daley Warned Obama About Catholic Leaders’ Response to New Rule

Politico reports that Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and William M. Daley, the former White House chief of staff — both are Catholic — had warned the President that he would face a backlash in championing the rule that religious organizations provide coverage for birth control in their health insurance plans. Both Biden and Daley said that the new rule could “alienate” Catholic voters in swing states. The New York Times quotes an anonymous administration official who underscored “how many times we went over this.”

It was the President himself who decided on the rule “calculating that at the end of the day, the issue of public health access outweighed the concerns of the religious institutions.” “The president is committed to making sure that all women have access to these important preventive services,” as Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said at a press conference. David Axelrod, a senior adviser to the President’s re-election campaign, emphasized that the intent of the new rule is not to “abridge anyone’s religious freedom” but to provide women with beneficial preventative medical care.

Conservative and Liberal Catholics: Rule Curtails Religious Freedom

Conservative Catholic politicians including John Boehner and Republican leader Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have joined in criticizing the White House, proclaiming that the Obama administration’s proposed rule curtails religious freedom. Boehner has called for legislation to block the new contraception rule. McConnell said that the law is “abhorrent to the foundational principles” of the US. Republican contenders for the presidential nomination have also declared that the President is curtailing religious freedom.

Liberal Catholics including the editorial board of Commonweal have also voiced opposition to the new rule, with some going so far as to say that they feel betrayed that the President is opposing the right to religious freedom. While critiquing the “hyperbolic response of the bishops” and advocating for an arrangement such as that in Hawaii, Commonweal’s editors argue that the administration’s decision is based on an understanding of religion that is “essentially sectarian, and historically Protestant” and that the Catholic Church “should not be forced to abide by such restrictions.”

Catholic Students for Women’s Health Speak Out

But these statements from Catholic officials and politicians both conservative and liberal only represent some perspectives about the issue.

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181 comments

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7:29AM PST on Feb 13, 2012

Just read Carolyn's post and thank you Carolyn. Have you noticed that our Constitution, Civil Liberties always mention "men", not women. One would expect that "men" means women as well but we should never assume. I believe it was meant exactly as it was written but, by God, it is time we demand "WOMEN" be added to equal rights. Women have always taken a back seat to men's rights, jobs, wages, positions of power, as parents, etc. I laugh when I hear America is the "greatest country in the world". Is that why America is highest in infant mortality rates among industrialized nations? Is that why American men can beat and murder their wife/wives, and little is done. Is that why pedophile priests can rape children and the church still enjoys tax exempt status? Drew Peterson is finally sitting in prison awaiting trial after his last wife went missing because a previous wife was murdered. I am sick and tired of the oppression of women in this country and really sick of the Stepford wives also sticking it to women in this country. And now the bastards on the 'right' are aligning themselves with those religions in an attempt to silence women. Time to fight back.

7:14AM PST on Feb 13, 2012

The religious can adhere to whatever belief they choose, and I agree with Frances; I don't want my tax dollars to go to any church who would deny women rights, raping of innocent children, cover-ups to protect priests. When a church professes to be above reproach for criminal acts, when they single out women and treat them as instruments of God to do with as they choose; it is time to step up and let our politicians know we want action taken by stripping them of their exempt status. You know, I find it amazing that Acorn, who did so much good, got screwed by the right and then the left because it was politically expedient to avoid the political pitfalls that James O'Keefe (freaky bastard) created, but this church can move their pedophiles priests around to protect them from being found out which would mean political fall out for them, and yet continue to benefit from tax exempt status. They absolutely oppress women which is something we condemn third world countries for, and they still enjoy their tax exempt status at the expense of tax-payers in this country. There is something wrong when our government is forcing Americans to be complicit in these crimes against humanity. And they are crimes. What happened with our Constitution that states; "all men are created equal" (yeah, I know, it says MEN). Well that sentence got shortened real quick! And lets be honest here; all men are not created equal. There are wonderful, moral men who believe children should be protected and wom

7:13AM PST on Feb 13, 2012

The Catholic church is an employer and should pay corporate taxes and should offer comprehensive health insurance for all its employees. It is a personal decisions as to whether they go against their churches teachings or not. Doesn't the bible say men are born with free will? I would assume that would also include women. Why would an employer deny coverages to all its employees? Isn't that discrimination? The government should follow the Constitution they swore to uphold and protect all its citizens. Religious belief or lack thereof is guaranteed under the Constitution. Separation of church and state is also guaranteed. The government should protect its citizens from religious manipulation, even if the politician is religious. This is a Republic, NOT a male, white, dominated Theocracy! Women have rights! Religions other than Catholicism have rights too! Atheists do as well. Birth control is a medical device but it is also used for other purposes, such as balancing hormones, helping with endometriosis, menopause symptoms, acne, regulating a woman's periods, and of course family planning. Priests are not doctors and have no say over a woman's body. Neither do Republicans! This is all a smoke screen to take the attention off the fact all these liars campaigned on the platform of job creation and they have done nothing but obstruct the President's attempts at doing just that while at the same time protecting their sponsors. The puppet masters are showing their true colors. Time

12:50PM PST on Feb 12, 2012

I think we have the right to disagree with the what religeon and when we have children.I as a catholic disagree with the obama request on pills and religeon. We as citizens DO have our rights!!!

11:54AM PST on Feb 11, 2012

Gloria H. You have a very good point. When they neuter the priests it will stop the sexual abuse of children in the church. And it will point the way to all the other men who are against women's reproductive rights, starting with Santorum.

You are right Nessie B. The church is not paying for birth control out of their massive wealth. The insurance companies are paying. I don't want subsidies or tax exemptions going to a church who molests children, and then cover it up, who doesn't make one phone call to the police. I don't want my taxes paying for endless wars, or subsidies to oil companies. I do want contraception available to ALL women whoever and wherever they are, whether working or not. Bishops, and priests should have no say whatsoever in a woman private lives.

The only way the church can keep bringing in their massive donations is to keep control over the people. The Republicans are such hypocrites (we already knew this) they were screaming about JFK letting the Catholic church set policy. Does anyone else knlow or remember that?

11:34AM PST on Feb 11, 2012

Gloria H. You have a very good point. When they neuter the priests it will stop the sexual abuse of children in the church. And it will point the way to all the other men who are against women's reproductive rights, starting with Santorum.

You are right Nessie B. The church is not paying for birth control out of their massive wealth. The insurance companies are paying. I don't want subsidies or tax exemptions going to a church who molests children, and then cover it up, who doesn't make one phone call to the police. I don't want my taxes paying for endless wars, or subsidies to oil companies. I do want contraception available to ALL women whoever and wherever they are, whether working or not. Bishops, and priests should have no say whatsoever in a woman private lives.

9:35AM PST on Feb 11, 2012

Of course Boehner objects. His mother did NOT have a choice ,so why should anyone else.?
(sauce for the goose etc). Men PAY for VIAGRA.

8:49PM PST on Feb 10, 2012

so why not provide men with free neutering? Women won't be blamed for wanting abortions. No fetus gets killed and everyone is happy. Let's start with priests first, just in case they get tempted to do something naughty. If they volunteer to get snipped wouldn't that start a trend?

5:06PM PST on Feb 10, 2012

No one was denying access, they were refusing to pay for it due to their faith and it's a non issue because everyone will have access now. I happen to think that the blue pill should not be covered as well and many other people-men I might add-agree. I dont see them demanding someone eles pay for it...do you?

3:54PM PST on Feb 10, 2012

Let's ask the church....ahem, old conservative men in govt. to deny access to erectile dysfunction pills for men at the same time! See how fast it turns around.

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