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Catholic Leaders Blast New Contraception Rules

The Obama administration is requiring religious employers to provide health care plans that cover access to contraception.

Catholic leaders in Maryland blasted the Obama administration for implementing a new rule requiring religious employers to offer health plans that cover contraceptives without co-pays or deductibles.

The Department of Health and Human Services stated that the new rule "ensures that women with health insurance coverage will have access to the full range" of all "FDA-approved forms of contraception." Nonprofit and religious employers have until Aug. 1, 2013 to comply with the new law.

Cardinal-designate Edwin F. O'Brien, leader of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, condemned the Obama administration's "shocking and disturbing decision" in a statement. O'Brien said the decision forces "individuals and religious organization to surrender their beliefs ... for the sake of political and financial expediency."

The Archdiocese of Washington called the rule an attack on religious freedom. In a statement, Washington Catholic organization stated:

"Until now, no federal law has required anyone to purchase, sell, sponsor, or be covered by a private health plan that violates his or her conscience. Under the HHS edict, however, virtually all Catholic charitable organizations, hospitals, schools, colleges and universities that want to provide for the needs of their employees and students in a manner consistent with Catholic moral teachings will be placed in the untenable position of having to choose between violating the law and violating their conscience."

Local Catholic church leaders at St. Margaret's Catholic Church in Bel Air and St. Francis de Sales in Abingdon were not readily available for comment Thursday morning.

Leah January 26, 2012 at 03:50 PM
I have my own health insurance and no one is advocating that I get contraceptives without having to pay deductibles or co-pays. Why is the Obama administration even putting its two cents in here?
Chris January 26, 2012 at 05:27 PM
If you are going to use contraceptives you will use them any way. Not everyone who works for a "Catholic" organization is Catholic. Besides there is sometimes you use birth control pills for medical reasons other than stop from getting pregnant. This is one reason the Catholic church needs to change their ways.
Susan Smith January 26, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Kristen, Try talking to St. Ignatius in Hickory. Fr. Jim Barker is the pastor there.
Christopher Stepp January 26, 2012 at 06:07 PM
By definition if you are paying a co-pay or deductible for your contraceptives then they are covered by your health insurance.
Grace January 26, 2012 at 06:19 PM
I'm not particularly religious, so I am not defending the church. I do feel Obama is wrong however. Separation of church and state goes both ways.
John Wayne January 26, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Why is this a Patch article? This is supposed to be for local news only. And on a side note: Call the Archdiocese of Baltimore PIO if you want a comment. No priest is going to comment to a news media.
amdactivist January 29, 2012 at 02:56 AM
Been a catholic for many years and supported their decisions until the last few years. I was in annapolis at a hearing for the legit id bill. A bill that would of required illegal aliens to provide a legit id to get welfare, energy assistance, food stamps, sec 8, medicaid, a job and voting rights. The catholic church said we can't do that to these people. It failed. The catholic church condoned the acts of fake/stolen ids that have been proven thats what illegals use. So much for "thou shall not steal". Illegal aliens have minimum of 5 children that taxpayers support through college if the dream act passes. Md now pays in excess of $2billion a year to illegal aliens and their kids and all on welfare while they work our jobs. I am very supportive of free contraceptives. Health dept been doing it for years. And somebody has to tell illegals its ok to use them especially the catholic church.
amdactivist January 29, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Let patch alone. Aren't there any catholic churche's in belair?
Brint Cooper January 29, 2012 at 06:31 PM
This is a complex issue. But when a religious organization engages in a commercial transaction that is not related to it's religious work, it must abide by laws and regulations in civil society. Religious groups should pay minimum wage; their health insurance should be bound by the same rules as those of the hardware store; they must insure any motor vehicles that they own; their clerical and lay employees are bound by the same laws governing personal conduct as the rest of us. There are no reasons to make exceptions.
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