Cardinal George: Rule On Contraception Would Be Attack On Religious People

UPDATED 02/10/12 11:20 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Francis Cardinal George came out with guns blazing against a federal rule that would require employers to pay for contraception for their staff, but President Barack Obama has now announced changes to the rule.

Administration officials say religious employers will not have to pay for birth control for their employees after all, and instead, insurance companies will have to provide free contraception if a religious-based employer objects.

“No woman’s health should depend on who she is, or where she works, or how much money she makes,” President Obama said.

But he pointed out that he started out working with Catholic parishes in poor neighborhoods in Chicago and knows the important work they do, and acknowledged that churches might believe their religious freedom was being violated by the rule.

But he said the purpose of the change in the rule was to move ahead with providing health care to women in the face of “cynical” people who wanted to turn the issue into a “political football.”

On Thursday, the cardinal issued a letter, in which he said the rule that had been set to take effect next year “strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty and for all citizens of any faith.”

The rule would have required religious-based hospitals, schools and charities that employ non-Catholics to pay for “all FDA-approved forms of contraception” for employees. The rule never applied to churches or other explicitly religious-affiliated employers.

The since-modified rule was issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on a recommendation by an arm of the arm of the National Academy of Sciences. The academy considers access to birth control improves maternal and infant mortality rates.

But the cardinal said the earlier rule presented Roman Catholics with the choice of either to “violate our consciences, or drop health care coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so.)”

Cardinal George went on to characterize the earlier rule as an attack on religious people.

“People of faith cannot be made second class citizens because of their religious beliefs,” George wrote. “We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom. Our parents and grandparents did not come to these shores to help build America’s cities and towns, its infrastructure and institutions, its enterprise and culture, only to have their posterity stripped of their God-given rights.”

He added that the earlier rule “reduces the church to a private club, destroying her public mission in society.”

The cardinal wrote that the earlier rule and its implications for religious liberty warranted “prayer and fasting that wisdom and justice may prevail, and religious liberty may be restored.”

Cardinal George had not issued any new statements in the wake of the changes to the rule as of 11 a.m.

The teachings of the Catholic Church dictate that birth control is never acceptable under any circumstances.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church states the teaching thusly: “Every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible is intrinsically evil.”

But a poll by the Public Research Institute says a slim majority of Americans – including Roman Catholics – believe employers should be required to pay for contraception for their employees, CBS News reported.

  • InalienableWrights

    We start off on shaky ground with government dictating to business that they must provide health insurance in the first place. This totally violates my right to contract.

    The real issue here is the right to contract. The right to buy and insurance policy that covers what you want covered not what the government dictates that your policy should contain.

    Guberment as usual is a disease posing as the cure.

    • Common Sense

      I suppose you also believe that government shouldn’t prohibit businesses to engage in indentured servitude. By your argument that also violates your right to contract.

      • Jeff

        All insurances are another branch of Government, anything mandated up on another individual means you are Governed by it.

  • Dan McGuire

    The Cardinal is RIGHT, I personally am looking forward to the 2nd part of Obama’s last battle cry , HOPE & PLEASE CHANGE the leadership,. This man HAS TO GO!

    • Judy

      I do not know about you but I will be voting for President Obama again. Now put that in your pipe and smoke it.

      • Jerry

        That’s okay Judy, we know that there are those like you, that are afraid of real change.

      • THEE Yard Ape

        @Judy – what are you smoking in your pipe to have the audacity to support this @ ss hole again??? Are you a card carrying member of SEIU, or the socialist party ??? OR BOTH??

  • John N - A Roman Catholic

    The Radical Right (radical christians among them) is always demonizing the president for wanting to take from one group and giving to another, that we should demand proaction of our individual rights.

    Well it seems that the Catholic Church wants to deny the individual rights of its non catholic employees (which often are the majority of the staff) who may believe that contraception is not only NOT a Sin but the right thing to do in an ever crowded world. Why should they be denied a benefit if it does conflict with their beliefs.

    Since religous organizations can not order their employees to practice a certain faith why should they have the right to interfere in their personal heath choices.

  • Steve - A Catholic

    The point here is that if people want to have access to contraceptives, then they should have to pay for it themselves. There’s no such thing as “free”. The insurance companies will provide this for “free” by making the rest of us pay for it – Catholic employers will see their insurance rates go up as will the rest of us. It’s against my Catholic beliefs to force me to pay for someone else’s birth control.

    • Common Sense

      If anything, your rates will go down. Birth control is a whole lot cheaper than the cost of pregnancy, prenatal care, hospital birth, newborn care, etc… By the way, the Catholic Church’s position on birth control is based on antiquated traditions and the idea of natural law – absolutely no biblical basis. The vast majority of sexually active American Catholic women of child bearing age practice some form of “banned” birth control, in spite of your misguided belief.

      • Lyndia

        Common Sense, you have a lot of COMMON SENSE. Something that is woefully absent with these other people. My sister and her husband are Catholic and they have 2 children. Why? BECAUSE THEY PRACTICED BIRTH CONTROL.

  • tricia

    Amazing how the Gop tries to spin everything Do the Insurance companies pay for Vasectomy’s. Once again the religious right want to tell me how to live my life, The four Fathers said -we must protect others from religion.

    • lyndia

      The forefathers had the right idea.

    • THEE Yard Ape

      @Tricia- get your facts straight!! It’s the libs and democrats that want BIGGER government, thus more rules/ regs and less freedoms, so give me a fuking break and go play with your NObama doll !

      • Lyndia

        President Obama is tall, good looking and rich. You ain’t got s h hi t and you are jealous. (He has a Harvard Law Degree too) What do you have? NOTHING. you are made because you are free, white, and 21 and you still haven’t accomplished nothing. Don’t player hate, red neck cracker.

      • NWA

        Go back to Thee Yard Ape! Tricia is right, not only is she right, it’s a woman’s body some jerk men is trying to control. And, yes Insurance companies pay for Vasectomies.


      • THEE Yard Ape

        @blue-gum-Lyndia – NObama and the mrs. are BOTH poster children for affirmative action !!!! These shines never worked a day in their lives. Harvard you say?? Why doesn’t yoiur messiah release his college transcripts?? He is a radical, sociialst and the fact that he’s in office is PROOF of how racist “you” people are!!! You don’t care about his past record (he does NOT have one, except voting “present” in congress!!!). Nor do you care about his past CRIMINAL associations !!! ALL you care about is having a black face in office. What a fuking disgrace, and a testament to the stupidity of the american people, proof that shines will always vote for their own and proof of the power of the corrupt labor unions. AND for ALL you white liberals out there that support this guy, you are the worst of the worst and have contributed greatly to the further demise of this country through your blind worship of this radical!!!!

  • Randall Poshek

    Who gives a sh#t what the “cardinal” thinks… he needs to focus his attention of pedophile priests… Catholics use & support the use of contraceptives… it is only the pedophile bishops/priests who think other wise…

    • Lyndia

      sounds about right to me.

  • Doug Indeap

    The point of an exemption (and this compromise) is simply to enable an employer to avoid acting contrary to his or her religious beliefs, not to revisit the merits of the health law or enable employers to undercut it by retaining control of employees’ health plans, limiting employees’ choices to those religiously approved by the employer, and avoiding paying any money to anybody that might someday be used by somebody to provide services to employees not to the employers’ liking.

  • American Patriot

    What do you expect from the commie obama,and the scary thing is that he will be elected for another term,this country is in for bad times,did any of you learn when going to school aBOUT COMMUNISM,IT DOESN’T LOOK LIKE IT,OBAMA IS A COMMIE just check his background,and could become the next Joseph Stalin.

  • Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh

    As a Catholic physician, I agree with Cardinal George when he says: “People of faith cannot be made second class citizens because of their religious beliefs”.

    Here, the rights of two separate groups are in conflict.

    The Catholic hierarchy are opposed to contraception.

    Many women and couples, including many Catholics, are not opposed to using contraception to help them to be in some control of their fertility, as best as they can, with the God-given knowledge that modern medicine has made available.

    In order to respect the religious liberty of the hierarchy, I believe that the Catholic Church should not have to pay for contraception.

    In order to respect the religious liberty and freedom of conscience of women, I am grateful that President Obama is searching for a way to have contraception covered by medical insurance, so that women are no longer treated as second class citizens, and are respected for making their own decisions, since only women know what their real needs are.

    Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, Chicago

  • righttrack

    It would make more sense to have the church pay for castration of the hundreds of Catholic priests guilty of molesting young boys. Next to our government, the Catholic church has the biggest scam going on. Fleecing billions of dollars from millions of people every year on the pretext that when you put your money into that collection plate, God will watch over you and take care of you. What a crock !!!

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