Catholic bishops have rejected the Obama administration’s latest proposal on mandatory contraceptive coverage, vowing to continue to fight for changes before the policy becomes final.
After reviewing the administration’s proposal unveiled last week, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said it stands by its earlier concerns.
“Because the stakes are so high, we will not cease from our effort to assure that healthcare for all does not mean freedom for few,” New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the bishops’ conference, said in a statement.
Under the federal health care overhaul, the administration has pressed to require most employers to provide access to free contraceptive coverage.
The rule exempts houses of worship and creates an “accommodation” for religious-affiliated employers like schools and hospitals — at which employees could obtain contraceptive coverage through a separate policy.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, though, said a bigger buffer is needed between religious charities and any third party arranging contraceptive coverage. Bishops also want a clearer statement that faith-affiliated hospitals and other nonprofits are religious ministries. And church leaders continue pressing for an exemption for owners of for-profit business who say the requirement forces them to violate their religious beliefs.