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February 8, 2012

Top Official at the United States Council of Catholic Bishops: Contraception 'Compromise' Obama May Be Considering Could Actually Make Things Worse

Topics: Political News and commentaries

The very moment I saw heard David Axelrod utter the word "compromise" ... I knew it had to be a ruse ... he had to have something worse in mind.

Turns out that's exactly what it was. The Obama administration has every intention of not backing off its gift to Planned Parenthood. HHS's decision to draw Obamacare's rules for conscience exceptions for "religious employers" so narrowly that they will not be extended to religious charities, universities, schools, hospitals, soup kitchens, homeless shelters and other institutions that oppose contraception as a matter of religious belief ... is meant to stand.

Via John McCormack at TWS:

The Wall Street Journal and New York Times both report that President Obama may be considering a "compromise" on his mandate that religiously affiliated institutions must cover contraception and abortifacients, and both papers suggest that a compromise under consideration is applying Hawaii's contraception mandate at the federal level. But Richard Doerflinger, a top official at the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, says that in "some ways" the Hawaii model "would be worse." He writes in an email to THE WEEKLY STANDARD:
It's difficult to know what people may mean by the "Hawaii compromise." But a central feature of the Hawaii law is that every religious organization that is eligible for the exemption has to instruct all employees in how they can access all methods of contraception and sterilization locally "in an expeditious manner."

Just a few days ago the White House was saying that this is just about coverage, that no one has to be involved in getting people to the actual services they object to. It would be no improvement to say: "Sure, you don't have to include the coverage, you just have to send all your lay employees and women religious to the local Planned Parenthood clinic." The Administration's press release of January 20 hinted at such a requirement.

That would not be a compromise. In some ways it would be worse.

Doerflinger also discussed the Hawaii law in an interview yesterday with the National Catholic Register:
"I've reviewed the Hawaii law, and it's not much of a compromise," said Richard Doerflinger of the USCCB Secretariat of Pro-Life Activities and the bishops' chief lobbyist on life issues in the nation's capital. "The Hawaii contraceptive mandate has many of the same features as the new federal mandate."

Like the federal rule, he said, the Hawaii bill covers all FDA-approved 'contraceptives' (including drugs that can cause an abortion); and the religious exemption is very narrow (though it does not include the requirement that the religious organization serve only people of its own faith to be eligible)."

"It adds an extra feature -- the requirement that any religious organization that is exempt must still tell all enrollees how they may directly access contraceptive services and supplies in an expeditious manner."

In other words, the Catholic Church must directly send women to drugs and devices that are morally wrong and can do harm to them.

As Michael Gerson points out, Axelrod and Obama are clearly oblivious to the central issue of the debate:
David Axelrod is now signaling that there "may be compromises that can be reached"on the Obama administration's contraceptive mandate. Or maybe he is just proposing a longer "grace period or time period in order to work this thing through." I'm sure he would welcome a grace period extended just beyond the November election.

In either case, the Obama administration is clearly growing less confident in its current position -- a requirement that religious hospitals, charities and universities provide insurance coverage that includes contraceptives and drugs that can cause early abortions. "We want to resolve it in an appropriate way," says Axelrod.

Yet Axelrod still refuses to concede anything on the central issue of the debate. He maintains that "extended, affiliated institutions like hospitals and universities" should be regulated like an Apple Store or 7-11, since all employ and serve non-members. This represents a deep misunderstanding of religion itself. Catholics serve non-Catholics precisely because that is the calling of Catholicism. Christians serve non-Christians because that is one of their defining missions in the world. There is nothing "extended" or "affiliated" about a Catholic shelter for abused women or the homeless. Such institutions are Catholic in motivation, Catholic in inspiration, Catholic through and through.

Alexrod is still insisting on the forced secularization of religious institutions. He wants compromise without the inconvenience of making concessions.

That last sentence is well worth repeating: (Team Obama) wants compromise without the inconvenience of making concessions. It's the essence of the way the Obama administration has operated since day 1 and exactly why our government is now in such a state of dysfunction.

Meanwhile, the Catholic Church wouldn't be in this mess if so many Catholic organizations (especially the very liberal Catholic Health Association's Sister Carol Keehan - that provided Obamacare cover for its abortion plan) had not supported ObamaCare, despite most practicing Catholics being against it. As it stands now, we're not going to see Religious liberty protected from the entitlement state until ObamaCare (and Obama) is repealed.

Related video: After noting how badly the Obama administration misjudged the issue, Charles Krauthammer predicted on Fox's Special Report that they would eventually cave on the issue. His explanation as to why, is spot-on:

Other related:
ObamaCare's Great Awakening - HHS tells religious believers to go to hell. The public notices.
Sen. Rand Paul: HHS mandate 'outrageous socialism' (In an op-ed published this morning on National Review online, Paul decried the mandate as "something generally witnessed only in totalitarian and authoritarian regimes," calling it a direct violation of religious liberty, for all Christians, not just Catholics.)

Posted by Hyscience at February 8, 2012 10:23 AM



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