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Sound Off: Should Religious Groups Be Exempt From Birth Control Mandate?

Catholic Church and religious organizations are upset about the new federal birth control law; what is your opinion?

The Obama administration announced in January that it was moving forward with its new federal law mandating employers to include birth control and other reproductive services in its health care coverage.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services guidelines require health insurance plans beginning on or after Aug. 1, 2012 to cover several women's preventive services, including birth control, with no co-pay.

The Obama administration said in late January that most health insurance plans must cover contraceptives for women free of charge, and it rejected a broad exemption sought by the Roman Catholic Church for insurance provided to employees of Catholic hospitals, colleges and charities, reported the New York Times.

Federal officials said they would give such church-affiliated organizations one additional year — until Aug. 1, 2013 — to comply with the requirement. Most other employers and insurers must comply by this Aug. 1.

On the weekend of Jan. 28, Catholic churches from coast-to-coast, reported USA Today, echoed with scorn for a new federal rule requiring faith-based employers to include birth control and other reproductive services in their health care coverage.

Judy Waxman of the National Women's Law Center, says easier access to contraceptives could prevent unwanted pregnancies and cut down on the number of abortions. "This is such a major step forward for women in this country," she told USA Today.

Father Larry Snyder, president of Catholic Charities USA, said he was "extremely disappointed" that the administration chose to ignore calls from religious institutions to broaden the exemption, according to published reports. 

Let's hear from you. Should religious groups be exempt from the birth control mandate? Vote in the poll below and share your thoughts in the comments.

Brian February 29, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Someone made the comment about about all the organizations and unions that have received hundreds of exemptions from the mandates in Obamacare. Why can't the Catholic Church & Health System receive similar exemptions now? Look it up. There are hundreds of companies and many, many, unions that filed for exemptions. They lobbied to get Obama in office, then when he put through exactly what he said he would, they immediately filed for exemptions. This is a great reason why insurance, and many other 'things', should remain in private hands and not be run under a gov't umbrella. The federal gov't should not be in the business of forcing institutions or citizens to get anything, or buy anything, or support anything. For years and years the Catholic Health System worked 'perfectly' fine not offering contraception to employees (addresses those who posted above that a woman might need birth control pills for other medical issue). 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago this was pretty much a non-issue. Now, all of a sudden, everyone thinks the gov't should be providing (mandating) everything. The anger should be directed at a gov't that is out-of-control, over spends, and over steps its bounds. If you want these benefits, go work for an organization that provides them.
Gary Weiner February 29, 2012 at 03:23 PM
It's important to note that religious groups - churches, mosques, etc. - are exempt from this mandate. Secular organizations that serve the public and employ people of various faiths are not. Moreover, the mandate has been modified so that organizations that object to it may opt out and employees of those organizations may get coverage for birth control directly from the insurance companies who must provide it at no cost.
Chris Barcelo February 29, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Eddie, I think you are counting out many key factors. Ron Paul is the only one who remotely appeals to democrats or independents. Santorum has gone too far and made many afraid of his religious aims and Romney people fear is a flip flopping corporate friend (which he is). If you take an honest look at the situation they are more of a vote for Obama then any other. Also so far as our foreign policy goes it is tremendously flawed and we frankly can't afford it anyway. I do stand corrected in that Bush did get congressional approval to go to war but I should remind that the reasoning given to the people was found to be false. Nothing good has come out of any of this save the capture and termination of Bin Laden which Obama has accomplished. Again I think you over look the most important issue of all. Our money. What is it worth if the Chinese stop the lending? What will happen then? All of the candidates save Ron Paul have any actual plan regarding this. The dollar simply cannot survive with the spending spree Bush started and Obama is accelerating at unprecedented levels. Socialism in welfare or warfare is not the answer. Government involving itself in the markets and picking which corporations are good and bad is not the answer. We need to return to sound money, constitutional foreign policy, and personal liberty. China is flourishing because we are driving everyone into their arms with our costly wars while they invest.
Chris Barcelo February 29, 2012 at 04:46 PM
I agree completely and it's amazing how much this is overlooked and people don't see that it's the Government subsidizing wall street, the banks, the bubbles, and causing all of these problems as we are reduced to wage slaves. Let me sum it up: Government insures banks. Banks therefore aren't worried and aren't responsible, the Government will pick up the tab. Malinvestment occurs and taxpayers bail them out. To pay for this we ask other countries to lend us money on the promise that well pay them back. When those bonds mature we simply sell more to pay for the debt we have to pay and print money / lower interest rates to keep up with the additional costs of this. All while policing the world and telling everyone, including our citizens now, how to live. How is this American and how does this make sense? Also how does ANYONE on either side defend this?
Chris Barcelo February 29, 2012 at 04:50 PM
No cost? That's impossible. If anything the cost of everyone would go up to make up the difference. Nothing is free and that's what people simply don't understand. The shell game of accounting we practice is ridiculous. Government should not impose on matters such as this. If the people demand it they should demand it they should seek a job that provides it. Jobs would then compete to be attractive to employees. But this would never happen... Wrong. If the government got out of the insurance game to begin with and got out of over regulation racket costs would go down and people could demand that. Costs are high because they have been driven to that point by through intervention in prices and regulation. If you have a product that is demanded by law you care not who wants it and what they're willing to pay. You can charge whatever you want. It's a win win. I don't know about you but when I shop I choose what suits my need most as well as what is most cost effective. If my choices are rigged then how do I really have one?

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