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White House Defends Contraception Rules as Criticism Mounts


The Obama administration is willing to work with Catholic universities, hospitals and other church-affiliated employers to implement a new policy that requires health insurers to offer birth control coverage, a top adviser to the president’s re-election campaign said on Tuesday.

David Axelrod, a senior campaign adviser to President Barack Obama, said the administration had heard the Roman Catholic Church’s concerns and never intended to “abridge anyone’s religious freedom.”

But he gave no sign that the administration would reverse course under intensifying pressure from church leaders and political heat from Republican presidential candidates.

“This is an important issue. It’s important for millions of women across this country. We want to resolve it in an appropriate way, and we’re going to do that,” Axelrod said in remarks on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.

White House spokesman Jay Carney also sought to diffuse criticism from church leaders, telling reporters later on Tuesday the administration would work with religious organizations “to see if the implementation of the policy can be done in a way that allays some of those concerns.”

U.S. Catholic bishops have slammed the Obama administration for a regulation finalized on January 20 that would require health insurance to include birth control and other preventative health services for women. The leaders contend the policy infringes on religious liberty because the church does not condone birth control of any kind.

Over the weekend, Catholic clergy across the country called for congregations to pressure Obama to back down.

“To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a statement last month.

Jim Towey, president of Ave Maria University in Florida, who also served in the administration of President George W. Bush, said on Tuesday he would fight the provision using “all lawful means at our disposal.”

“Our non-Catholic employees and students understand fully that the University must adhere to Catholic teaching and they do not expect us to provide such services,” he said in a statement. [More]





  1. tom Mullen says:

    The bishops have been looking for anything to distract attention from the continuing sex abuse scandal -e.g. the New Missal,gay marriage etc. Now they have one handed to them by Obama and will ride that horse till election day. The question is, will catholic couples follow the bishops or their own conscience and continue practicing birth control?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just because an employer is forced to buy this kind of comprehensive insurance doesn’t mean that an employee is forced to use any objectionable items/services.

  3. Noel says:

    It looks like the Roman Catholic Bishops (not the Church) are trying to impose catholic moral teaching re birthcontrol,other sexual related topics eg marriage – gay/straight),the complex issues around abortion (not as simple as they pretend), upon the American people, who may avail of services provided by the church to American people, irrespective of religious affiliation. It seems that these same bishops and some of their clergy – all single celibate men – wish to force their beliefs, by appealing to their own “authority” and in a manner that can best be described as bullying, threatening and scare-mongering. Me thinks they misunderstand the Gospel of Jesus and now desire to rule America.after allthat has happened in the Catholic Church inrecent times.

    • Deacon Francis says:

      Noel, the Catholic Bishops have a much better understanding of the Gospel and its relation to abortion, gay marriage, etc. than you and 99% of the population. And I say this as a non-celibate clergy.

  4. amf says:

    It is clear that this administration will say whatever it has to to get re-elected. They will pander, tease and attempt to seduce with words of appeasement. But one thing, I believe, they will never to is reverse themselves.

  5. Michele says:

    Dcn..you are exactly right. I posted something very similar on another day. Catholics put him over the top the last election and they’ll do it again this year. I remember right after the election our Bishop sent us all emails asking to pray for an end to abortion and for the conversion of obamas heart on the issue. Perhaps that should have happened BEFORE the election. Catholics have only themselves to blame.
    Can’t say they didn’t see it coming.

    • Richard Andrew says:

      Regarding Michele and Dcn (?) Juan’s comments: Have you forgotten the “wolf in sheep’s clothing” metaphor? Obama is not the first president who has promised one thing while on the campaign trail only to reverse himself later when in office.

      • Michele says:

        My problem isn’t with obama. He’s doing exactly what he said he would on this issue. I’m wondering where the Catholics were in 2008. They voted for the guy and are getting what they voted for. Why the sudden attack of conscience?

  6. Dcn Juan says:

    Did bishops make a cry before the last elections about why this man, Obama was not the right person for the country or christians? No, they water down the abortion issue with such as the “helping the least among us”. If the economic picks up, american will reelected this person again. It is about the Almighty Dollar, not god.


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