Catholic bishops to Obama: Good try but no cigar

When it comes to mandatory contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act, the nation's Catholic bishops won't budge an inch.

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, initially said he would study President Obama's newest variation of the requirement. That didn't last long. Now, it's no sale unless the mandate is lifted from any person of faith who objects to facilitating contraception coverage for employees.

The bishops' position is essentially unchanged from what they said in August through their general counsel Anthony Picarello when they blasted the requirement that private insurance plans cover contraception, calling the mandate "unprecedented in federal law and more radical than any state contraceptive mandate."

They criticized the narrow "religious employer" exception to the mandate, explaining that it provides "no protection at all for individuals or insurers with a moral or religious objection to contraceptives or sterilization," instead covering only "a very small subset of religious employers."

The bishops called the plan "nationwide government coercion of religious people and groups to sell, broker or purchase 'services' to which they have a moral or religious objection." They said the plan represents "an unprecedented attack on religious liberty."


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