Washington, D.C. — Nancy Keenan, president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, called the Obama administration’s announcement a reaffirmation of the commitment to ensuring contraceptive coverage.
The Obama administration’s policy will make sure women of all faiths who work at religiously affiliated hospitals, universities, and service organizations can get contraceptive coverage. It guarantees that women will encounter no barriers from their bosses or insurance plans in getting birth control without a copay.
“Today’s announcement makes it clear that President Obama is firmly committed to protecting women’s health,” Keenan said. “Unfortunately, some opponents of contraception may not be satisfied. These groups and their allies in Congress want to take away contraceptive coverage from nurses, janitors, administrative staff, and college instructors — and that agenda is out of touch with our country’s values and priorities. We will continue to fight on every front to support women’s access to birth control as politicians in Washington, D.C. try to take it away.”
Here’s what the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said about it on Tuesday.
WASHINGTON — As religious groups maintain their drumbeat of opposition to the new federal rule mandating contraception coverage for all private employer health plans, some commentators have identified Hawaii’s bill as a possible “compromise” that could address criticism.
But a key official in the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says the Hawaii bill — repeatedly cited in media commentary — would not resolve the conference’s concerns and would, in any case, be overridden by the federal rule.
“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.