(RNS) The Obama administration and faith-based foes of a rule that employer health insurance policies provide free birth control coverage continued back and forth legal filings on Friday (Jan 3.), though with an odd twist: The Justice department says an order of nuns is exempt from the mandate, while the nuns’ lawyers say they are not.
(RNS) Pope Francis wants to know what rank-and-file Catholics think about gay marriage, divorce and birth control, but it’s unclear whether U.S. bishops will poll their flocks or simply report their own thoughts.
(RNS) Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit has been one of the most high profile of 60-some cases involving the Obama administration’s contraceptive mandate. The arts and crafts chain was founded by David Green, “the biblical billionaire backing the evangelical movement.”
(RNS) The organization representing Catholic hospitals across the country says it no longer objects to the Obama administration’s mandate that all employees receive free birth control coverage. The decision by the Catholic Health Association puts the hospitals at odds with the Catholic hierarchy, which last week rejected the White House’s final regulations.
COLUMBUS, Ohio (RNS) Thirteen state attorneys general are urging the federal government to broaden religious exemptions under the contraception mandate, saying private businesses should not be forced to provide coverage that violates their moral beliefs.
(RNS) “As a Jesuit, Catholic university, there are certain Catholic commitments that Boston College is called to uphold,” Boston College spokesman Jack Dunn said about efforts to shut down an undercover student group that distributes free condoms.
(RNS) The nation’s Catholic bishops on Thursday (Feb. 7) rejected the Obama administration’s latest proposals to broaden the religious exemptions and accommodations in regulations that will require insurance companies or employers to provide free birth control coverage.
When the Obama administration announced mandatory coverage of contraceptives in January of last year as part of sweeping healthcare reform, religious conservatives were incensed. Roman Catholics were angry because the church prohibits use of birth control, even though most congregants ignore the teaching. Evangelicals were upset because religious non-profits were not exempt from the mandate, which also covers drugs that induce abortions. The two faith communities found themselves to be valuable allies. In response, the administration announced an accommodation for faith-based nonprofits that would not require those organizations to pay for the coverage. Instead, employees could obtain private, stand-alone policies from third parties that provide the same services at no cost.
(RNS) The Obama administration on Friday unveiled new rules on its controversial contraception mandate designed to provide greater flexibility for religiously affiliated organizations though not for privately owned businesses.