Health care, religion and contraception commingled in last weekend’s Sunday services at Catholic churches around the country after new health insurance rules from the Obama administration struck some church leaders as anathema to their beliefs and a threat to their religious freedom. —KA
During church services on Sunday, Catholics around the country were read a blistering letter assailing the Obama administration for an “assault on religious liberty” in the form of a coming requirement that most church-linked organizations - among them hospitals, schools and universities - offer birth control coverage as part of their health care plans.
Despite strong lobbying from religious groups, the Health and Human Services Department announced earlier this month that most church-linked groups will not be exempt from the requirements - which also mandate that no co-pay be charged for contraceptive services - though they will have an extra year to comply beyond the August 1 deadline. Churches themselves (along with any other employer that is explicitly focused on offering a religious message, and which primarily employs those who believe in that message) are exempt from the requirement.