Abortion Advocates Upset Over President’s Talk with Archbishop DolanNovember 21, 2011 No Comments
Monday, November 21, 2011 10:11 PM | By Catholic Online
The Department of Health and Human Services is carefully considering a rule which would mandate that private health insurance plans provide contraceptive services, some of which are abortifacent, to women at no cost. Under the current proposal, some claim that churches can exempt themselves from this requirement. However, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and other religious organizations have been lobbying hard to petition Congress and the White House to expand the exemption because the ”exemption” has no real effect.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) – The church and other groups are asking the White House to include hospitals, schools, nonprofits, and other religious affiliated organizations in the exemption. This would prevent those organizations from being required to pay for contraception, some of which are also abortifacent.
Abortion advocates are insisting that expanding the so called religious exemption would leave women without access to contraception, and that this threatens women’s health.
They maintain President Obama has been paying more attention to the Catholic bishops that he has the pro-choice lobby. Abortion activists are expressing frustration at the amount of attention Catholic lobbyists have received.However, the alleged “exemption” actually has no real effect. It would compel Catholic and other Pro-Life institutions to violate their conscience or shut down.
“I found the President of the United States to be very open to the sensitivities of the Catholic community. I left there feeling a bit more at peace about this issue than when I entered,” the Archbishop recently said.
But last Friday Obama finally granted a conference call to the Pro-Choice Caucus. A White House staffer who asked to remain anonymous said, “Members are so nervous that the White House is going to expand the religious exemption that they demanded to have a conference call, but even getting that was a very heavy lift. It’s never been more clear to me than today that the primary element of pressure on the White House is being orchestrated by the bishops. I don’t know if they’re meeting with the White House, I don’t know what kind of access they have, but I do find it troubling that the Pro Choice Caucus hasn’t been able to meet with the White House yet.”
Lowey expressed her surprise that the president was even entertaining the issue in the first place. She told reporters that she believes the attention the religious lobby has received indicates that Obama regards them as a powerful group.
Lowey said, “”Let me say this: I don’t have first hand information that the lobby is stronger on the other side, but the fact that the White House is asking for opinions and advice makes it clear to me they’ve been very powerful.”
Meanwhile Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, spokes woman for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops explained that the religious point of view. “A Catholic organization cannot be forced to pay for services that go against its teaching. It’s just untenable. We’re hoping for a decision which respects religious freedom.” She made clear, as have others, that to remain unprotected from the religious exemption would be tantamount to trampling on the First Amendment rights of the church.
© 2011, Catholic Online. Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
Tags: abortion rights groups, Archbishop Dolan, Archbishop Timothy Dolan, catholic news, catholic world news, Department of Health and Human Services, President Obama, pro choice, Pro Life, Pro Life news, pro-choice caucus, Rep Nita Lowey, St. Mary Ann Walsh, US Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCBFeatured Article, Life