Religious exemptions in new birth control regulations

Some religious organizations have voices opposition to the new women’s health regulations announced Monday. The Obama administration announced new expanded … Continued

Some religious organizations have voices opposition to the new women’s health regulations announced Monday.

The Obama administration announced new expanded women’s health regulations Monday, classifying contraceptives as preventive services and requiring that health insurers provide them without co-pays for customers.

According to a report by the Associated Press, “well-woman visits, support for breast-feeding equipment, contraception [including the morning-after pill] and domestic violence screening” will be covered by “requiring health plans to cover recommended preventive services without cost sharing.” The prevention of unplanned pregnancy is one goal of the new regulations, with advocates expecting that the lowered cost will encourage the consistent use of the birth control pill and create a higher demand for longer-term options such as hormonal implants.

A number of religious organizations, including the Catholic Church and the Family Research Council, have opposed the new regulations. Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, who runs the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Pro-Life Activities, recently wrote in opposition to the proposal that “pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible.”

The Catholic Church is the largest single denomination in America and has perhaps the most conservative approach to contraception among all Christian churches, calling contraception immoral. The church teaches a fertility awareness and abstinence approach known as Natural Family Planning as an alternative, but recent studies show that 98 percent of Catholic women have used contraceptive methods officially rejected by the church. Most evangelical churches accept the use of contraceptives within marriage, but some conservative Christian organizations object to the government’s promotion of birth control.

The regulations do include religious exemptions, posted below (emphasis mine), but according to the AP, some some religious leaders have called the protections “insufficient” for certain religious organizations:

Do you agree with the Obama administration’s decision to classify birth control (including the morning-after pill) as preventive health care?

Elizabeth Tenety
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  • thebump


    Even if you happen to agree with this particular decision, if the idea of a healthcare system engineered by political hacks and ideologues does not sicken you, you’re not paying attention.

  • Skowronek

    Is it any better than it’s engineered to maximize profits at the expense of the patients? ‘Faceless (private-industry) bureaucrats’ deny coverage or payment for procedures that doctors recommend or order, all the time. Rest assured, they are not fellow physicians, nor are the majority of those denying claims or coverage R.N.’s, either.

  • thebump

    Yes, because you have a choice. And if you think your choices are too few, then the solution is to increase choice not eliminate it.

  • Skowronek

    Isn’t it cute the way ‘thebump’ keeps on recommending his/her own posts?

  • Skowronek

    And yet…Canada has far better health outcomes than the U.S.

    Again, for-profit health insurance pits money against patients. It’s rigged so that the patients lose and the stockholders win.

    That’s why universal coverage is a good thing–there’s no cherry-picking and the risk is spread out in an even bigger group.

    We’re all subsidizing the un- and under-insured already and it’s co$ting everyone a great deal of money.

  • roby3926

    Contraception must be readily available to everybody, no matter religion, race, or who knows what else.

    All these people who are against it, want simple be able to control other peoples decision and have power over them: we are in the Western world.
    the same right should exist everywhere too.!

  • Skowronek

    For the benefit of ‘thebump’:

    If the new law requires insurers to fully cover preventive care, why did I get a bill for my annual exam?

    The Affordable Care Act does eliminate co-pays and co-insurance for some kinds of preventive care, as long as you use an in-network provider. (Those services are also not subject to deductibles.) A yearly checkup or “well” visit will often be covered, says Lori Heim of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

    Blood pressure checks and recommended screenings, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, should cost you nothing. Many vaccinations are also on the free list. has the full menu.

    There are two catches. First, your plan may be grandfathered out of having to follow this rule if it was in place before the law was enacted. The exemption lasts until your employer significantly cuts benefits or increases your co-pay, co-insurance, or deductibles. Almost a third of midsize and large group plans are exempt, according to consultant Towers Watson, but that number will fall over time.

    Catch No. 2? “Sometimes ‘well’ visits can morph into ‘sick’ visits,” says Cheryl Gregg Fahrenholz of Preferred Healthcare Solutions, a consulting firm. Say your doc discovers an irregular mole and removes it during your visit. You may get a bill for the cut. Ditto if you mention a specific symptom that causes the doctor to run an extra test.

    To avoid a surprise, ask your doctor to tell you when he is doing something that is going to result in a bill.

    I have a preexisting condition, and I’m having trouble finding coverage. Wasn’t this supposed to be fixed?

    Starting in 2014, if you have a preexisting condition you’ll be able to buy a health policy on the new insurance “exchanges,” which will charge both healthy and sick people the same prices.

    Until then, the law has provided some Band-Aids. Kids can’t be turned away from most plans. And the federal government is subsidizing new programs in each state called Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plans. (PCIP.

  • YEAL9

    Making sure this does not get lost in the “More” file:

    Free birth contol pills? Free condoms? OK as long as the following message is included:

    : The failures of the widely used birth “control” methods i.e. the pill and male condom have led to the large rate of abortions and STDs in the USA. Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the pill or condoms properly and/or use other methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and STDs.


    Using Guttmacher Institute data on birth control method failure rates, one is able to calculate the number of unplanned pregnancies resulting from the current use of male condoms. It is an horrific number of 1.2 million/yr. Even perfect use of would result in 138,000 unplanned pregnancies.
    (And what is the abortion rate in the USA? ~1,000,000/yr CDC data.)

  • thebump

    You know what you can do with your [expletive] socialist [expletive].

  • thebump

    Uh, why on earth would we go to the trouble of composing them if we didn’t recommend you read them? Duh.


  • kittymeredith

    I heartily agree. It’s about time that women want to limit their pregnancies be given whatever they need to do so. It is no coincidence that the the only large organization that opposes this part of the health plan is entirely controlled by unmarried (but often not chaste) men.

  • carlaclaws

    “…pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible.”

    Perhaps not, but an unwanted pregnancy is an unhealthy situation for the parents and the child.

  • ThomasBaum


    It seems as if you are not interested in the “[expletive] socialist [expletive]”, would you be interested in the system that was attempted in earliest Christianity that was spoken of in Acts?

    If you are not familiar with it, it was very communistic in nature, in that no one owned anything privately, if they did, they sold it and gave it to the communal pot for the use of everyone.

    Of course, this was not forced on anyone but people, at least in the beginning, took Jesus at what He said.

    Jesus said lots of things, one of which is: “Father forgive them, they know not what they do”, just as true today as when first spoken.

    See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom, the new heavens and the new earth.

    God’s Plan which God has had since before creation is, ultimately for All, that is why it is called GOOD NEWS.

  • nutzoid

    Women, unconstrained by pregnancy and marriage, are the greatest threat imaginable to society’s stability and morals. Providing them free birth control is just another part of the communist plot to undermine America, which is succeeding beyond the perpetrators’ wildest imagination.

  • thebump

    ThomasBaum, yes, it’s a beautiful thing — in a monastery.

    And only to a point. Even cloistered monks avail themselves of the fruits of modern medicine, whose rapid advances are driven by naked capitalism.

    And in a secular, pluralistic society of 300 million souls, where innovation and economic advancement are imperative to improve the living standards of an expanding but aging population, socialism is a horrorshow.

  • burntnorton

    Wow, you’re being stunningly dishonest. Why don’t you quote the data on the rate of unplanned pregnancies in the absence of birth control? Hint – it makes the “horrific” number of 1.2 million look positively heavenly.

  • YEAL9

    One more time for the “reading challenged”!!!

    Men and women must either recognize their responsibilities by using the pill or condoms properly and/or use other methods in order to reduce the epidemics of abortion and STDs.

  • persiflage

    nutzoid, you make your mother proud!!

  • larryclyons

    nutzoid – you really need to loosen that tinfoil hat, its realy affecting your rationality.

  • larryclyons

    Bump, your reading comprehension must be broken. Either that or are you so devoid of rational thought that the best retort you can come up with is
    “You know what you can do with your [expletive] socialist [expletive].”

    That is really pathetic.

    Lets look at the facts, the Canadian single payer system spend far less per patient than the US system, covers everyone, and provides better coverage on top of that. The results are very clear, all the indicators of public health show that the Canadian public is much better off – lower birth defects, far lower infant and maternal mortality rates, longevity rates are all higher than in the US etc.

    It comes down to this:

    Why do you hate America so?

  • Catken1

    Bump, no, I don’t have a choice. First of all, the only available and affordable option for my family works out to “whatever my husband’s employer chooses to offer”. Second, if the only available options are for-profit insurers competing to screw their customers for the bottom line, no one has a choice.
    Offering a single-payer system that covers everyone, while letting those that want to and can afford it buy supplemental private insurance, would increase choice, not eliminate it.

  • flip4112000

    Nutzoid is the kind who would chain women to their stoves and force them to wear chastity belts. Apparently according to the nutzoids of the world, women who are sexually active are threats to our national stability, but men who practice the exact same sexual activeness are to be applauded….

  • Catken1

    Perhaps s/he was being sarcastic?

  • flip4112000

    Bump, enough already. None of your posts make any sense except apparently to you. How would you have reformed healthcare? Instead of calling it “obamacare” how about you actually tell everyone what a good idea in your opinion would have been so this debate can go forward.

    The only problem with Healthcare Reform was that it didnt go far enough. Its still got enough loopholes for private insurance companies to exploit and not everyone will be covered like they would be under a single-payer system. Plus a single-payer system would actually dramatically drive down our healthcare costs at the same time. So apparently all these people whining about government takeover dont actually care about the balooning costs in our private insurance healthcare system.

  • flip4112000

    Also why are we allowing religious exemptions for this law? The Catholic Church has no right to dictate whether my girlfriend is allowed to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. She is far too young to be a mother, and lets be honest not many people are willing to stay abstinate and why should they? Grown adults dont need to be treated like children when it comes to their own bodies/health.

  • flip4112000

    They must be because nobody in the 21st century should be thinking of grown women as a threat

  • jcoop200

    The Catholic Church is not dictating whether or not your girlfriend uses birth control, they’re simply saying that they don’t want to provide it. Your girlfriend can always go somewhere else to get what she wants.

  • streff

    My vote is for birth control in the water, and requiring a license to have a child.

  • Bluefish2012

    In what sense is the belief that using birth control is any less a belief than not using artificial birth control?

    What I’m getting at is this: either way, each side has a firmly held *belief* that the other’s path is wrong. What right has one or *the other* have to tell the other what it can and can’t do? What right has the government to establish either belief system?

    No one forces anyone not to take birth control–to say that is demagoguery and dishonest.. Similarly, no one should force any organization that refuses to provide birth control.

  • WonderfulWorld

    I think the name together with the wacky phrasing indicates sarcasm…but I’ve been wrong before.

  • Bluefish2012

    Lost in the arguments in favor of birth control and abortion is the negative effect such “rights” have had on population in many countries which now have serious negative population growth, and all its attendant economic downsides.

    Cliches with some truth: You get what you pay for and you shouldn’t try to fool mother nature.

  • nanettelst

    Birth control does not control or limit a disease, it prevents pregnancy, which is not only a natural state, but a very necessary one for the survival of mankind. To label it is preventatvie health care is nonsense, regardless of your religious beliefs. I have no problem with the use of contraceptives, but this is just another example of government mandating that insurance pay for something each person should be responsible for themselves, at least in part..

  • Bluefish2012

    Never mind the fact that in this country you are free to accept or reject anything any church teaches. No one is stopping a person from getting B.C. on their own.

  • Bluefish2012

    No, it isn’t. The health of the child thus conceived is definitely in mortal danger if the parents feel this way, however.

  • Bluefish2012

    Wrong. No one is “controlling” anyone’s access to birth control. They are perfectly free to obtain it on their own.

  • sassafrasnewport

    You are clueless. You assume that every woman can carry a child healthfully or wants to, which in this country is a legal choice. If you are opposed to it, simple, don’t do it. If insurance companies can pay for Viagra to get a woman there, it should pay for the preventative solution as well. It is about fairness, not government mandates. There are a lot of things that government “mandates” for the good of the country; it is called laws; just like your parents did for you. You may not agree with all of those “mandates” any more than you agreed with your parents but then again, no one is forcing you to. If you don’t want to take the advice, solution or “mandate,” don’t. That simple.

  • sassafrasnewport

    Bluefish2012, no, but you miss the entire point don’t you? No religious organization should be in the business of regulating or attempting to influence what the secular businesses do for a secular public.

  • sassafrasnewport

    Nutzoid’s moniker couldn’t have been more fitting.

  • sassafrasnewport

    Bluefish2012, go back to your trailer.

  • sassafrasnewport

    Really, now. Who pays for your healthcare? Who decides what will be covered in your healthcare plan if you have one? Certainly not you.

  • ThomasBaum


    You asked, “ThomasBaum, how the hell can Christianity be about “God’s Plan” if we’re not allowed to say anything about God’s Plan?”

    If you think that any part of God’s Plan is for some to force God, or their conception of God, on others, than you are wrong.

    If you think that you or anyone else is suppose to be someone else’s conscience, then you are wrong.

    Conversely, if you think someone else should be your conscience, then you are wrong.

    Jesus, God-Incarnate, forced Himself on no one, true or not?

    God gave us free will, do you think God gave us free will for us to take free will away from others?

    I was taught and I believe that Jesus took all of the sins (wrongdoing or whatever anyone wants to call sin if the word sin upset them so) of ALL upon Himself and they were nailed to the cross, so to speak, when we nailed Jesus to the cross, contrary to what some seem to think/believe, it was not God Who nailed God-Incarnate to the cross but humans.

    If Jesus did this, do you think that He died in vain?

    I don’t.

    God’s Plan is about the reconcilliation between God and man with the Incarnation bringing God and Man into One and this Life and Death being for the Redemtion, Salvation and Sanctification of ALL, not for us to run other people’s lives but to die for them if called.

    Pretty simple even tho the “details” might get kind of involved and if God’s Plan is not, ultimately, for All than God’s Plan is not worth diddly squat.

    Instead of hoping for the “best seat” in the house, I believe that we should be hoping for “seats for everyone”, so to speak.

  • Secular1

    Enquiring minds want to know, how did come about to know the god’s plan. Can you please shed light on that. Thanks

  • ThomasBaum

    I would say thru a combination of reason and revelation.

    I have pointed out that I do not know the “details” of God’s Plan, only that God’s Plan is, ultimately, for ALL and that God’s Plan, which God has had since before creation, is unfolding even as we speak thru the written word.

    The sheer simplicity of God’s Plan is mind-boggling, the sheer complexity of how it all ties together (details, so to speak) is also mind-boggling.

    God became One of us therefore uniting God’s Divinity and man’s humanity.

    We killed God, God-Incarnate that is, and in the process, God not only “defeated” physical death but also spiritual death and hell (the netherworld), I don’t have a clue exactly how God did this but for that matter, I don’t have a clue how God made absolutely everything out of absolutely nothing.

    Nobody else does either, we have come to “figure out” some of the processes and “laws” concerning the natural world but the ultimate “how”, we do not know and many do not even think/believe that there is a “why” for creation.

    By the way, physical death is a part of life but if one were to go to spiritual death and/or hell, one would come to the realization that they built it themself.

    God-Incarnate won the “keys” to the “netherworld” and will use them in due time, God’s Time.