â€œWe have to be very vigorous in insisting that this is not about contraception. Itâ€™s about religious freedom,â€ said the cardinal, who is president of the U.S. bishopsâ€™ conference.
He said the debate is a â€œtough battleâ€ because proponents of the coverage mandate have chosen an issue they know the Catholic Church is â€œnot very popular on.â€
The cardinal made his remarks in an interview with television talk show host Bill Oâ€™Reilly, which was excerpted on the Fox News show The Oâ€™Reilly Factor on March 28 and broadcast on the March 29 edition of â€œConversations with Cardinal Dolanâ€ on SiriusXMâ€™s Catholic Channel.
His comments focused on the Health and Human Services mandate, announced on Jan. 20, that requires almost all employers to provide insurance coverage for sterilization and contraception, including some abortion-causing drugs. The Obama administration has billed the mandate as an increase in â€œpreventive careâ€ for womenâ€™s health.
The mandate has caused problems of conscience for Catholics and others who have moral and religious objections to providing the required coverage.
Cardinal Dolan said that the bishops will â€œvigorouslyâ€ continue their advocacy against the HHS mandate and will continue the â€œvery effective interreligious and ecumenical coalition that weâ€™ve got fighting this.â€
â€œThis is not just a Catholic issue. It is certainly not just a bishopâ€™s issue,â€ the cardinal told Oâ€™Reilly.
â€œWeâ€™re not giving up on the administration,â€ he added, while acknowledging some pessimism about that pathâ€™s prospects for success. [More]