The Obama administration and U.S. Catholic bishops continue to be at odds over a proposed federal policy to make coverage for contraceptives a standard part of employer-sponsored health-care insurance.
As part of the implementation of health-care reform, the Obama administration last month issued a policy that said that employer-sponsored health-care plans need to include coverage for birth control, which the administration deemed an important and basic element of health care for women. (The proposed policy does not policy to abortion.)
The policy ran up against the Catholic Church's long-standing stance that contraceptive use is a sin. The proposed policy exempts church and schools that primarily hire and serve Catholics, but did not exempt organizations such as Catholic hospitals that routinely hire and serve non-Catholics.
On Friday, the White House proposed a compromise: Catholic organizations did not have to offer the coverage, but insurers would pick up the cost themselves because providing contraceptives is less expensive than paying for pregnancies. The bishops are still upset, saying the compromise violates their "religious freedom."
A column posted Saturday on mlive.com explored both sides of the issues -- and noted that Catholics themselves largely ignored the Vatican's ban on birth control issue.
Here's what readers have to say.
Wrote westmaple: "There are states that have had this contraception rule for years and people don't squawk about it. Every group insurance policy written in many states has the rule in them put there by the insurance companies following state regulations. The new rule wouldn't require a soul to use contraception but insurance companies love the rule. Pills are cheaper than babies, or hadn't you noticed?"
Argued Jor-El: "The argument is not about contraception or the Catholic church. Its about the federal government imposing their ideology onto another entity. This administration didnt understand why a majority of democrats were thrown out of office after Obamacare was passed and this will come back to bite him again."
Responded d ca: "The Catholic Church does not get to make the law of the land. It lost that privilege a long time ago as it abused it powers. Women do not want 5+ kids nowadays. Nor can they afford them. A celibate male bishop should worry about punishing those under his direct control for raping kids and compensating victims (vs hiding the money in dummy Church corporations and declaring bankruptcy) more than worrying about reproductive rights."
Agreed mrpike2: "Obamacare had nothing to do when this issue was settled looong ago. That's why Muslims can't have 4 wives, Mormans can't have as many as they want and Catholics can't take federal money to serve the general public and deny their employees birth control. Get over it, they aren't making anyone do anything they don't want to do."
Grannylake expressed the views of many commenters, that the government shouldn't require a religious organization to act against its beliefs: "All the liberties, freedoms and rights granted to the American people are guaranteed and no one including the President can take them away. All three branches of our federal government have been doing their best to erode the Constitution for years.
If you care about any of our rights, then we must protect them all equally."
Wrote Kevin Rahe: "If any religious employer (or any company run by someone who wants to operate it according to their own values, whatever they may be) wants to exclude from some fringe benefit something that they find offensive or incompatible with their faith, they should be completely free to do so as long as they are up front about it with prospective employees. ... What argument could there be against this idea?"
What do you think?