Washington, DC -Portrait of Sr. Carol Keehan, President of Catholic Health Association on August 20, 2012. Photo by Susan Biddle/courtesy Catholic Health Association

Catholic hospitals at odds with bishops over birth control mandate

(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.

cardinal timothy dolan

Catholic bishops reject new contraception proposals

(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.

Obama fails to win over religious conservatives on contraception mandate

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.