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A spokesman for the Catholic Archdiocese of New York said today, the federal government's birth control mandate is not a Catholic issue. He said: "It's not really a religious issue. It's an American issue.” Absolutely. This is an American issue in that it affects more than Catholics, and there are not just Catholics working at religiously affiliated institutions, such as schools, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. If the Archdiocese believes the crux of the issue is about protecting freedoms and upholding the First Amendment, then it must remember the freedom of an individual to practice a religion in his or her own way, and the rights of people to treat their bodies as they deem appropriate.
The Catholic Archdiocese of New York is joining a lawsuit against the federal government over a plan involving birth control. The suit takes aim at a Health and Human Services Department mandate requiring most employers to provide birth control coverage as part of their employee health plans. Catholic leaders feel the policy violates their constitutionally protected beliefs, and call the mandate "unwarranted and unprecedented government intrusion."
The lawsuit comes three months after the Obama administration said religious schools, hospitals and organizations were exempt from the mandate. Instead, insurance companies from institutions that qualify would offer contraception to women. Catholics still objected, saying their insurance premiums would be helping to pay for the contraception. What do you say?
Do you support the lawsuit announced today from the Catholic Archdiocese? Is providing birth control on insurance plans a "government intrusion" into religious beliefs? Should the current exemption be enough to satisfy concerns from religious organizations?
Send your thoughts using the link above.
I DO SUPPORT THE LAWSUIT ANNOUNCED TODAY FROM THE CATHOLIC ARCHDIOCESE?
Catholicism is as meddlesome and aggressive toward other religions as is Islam. Its goal is a theocratic United States. Dolan is an arch-conservative and I suspect charismatic -catholic or opus dei member, as such he doesn't speak for most modern parishioners. They're harassing their own nuns for God's sake. And the bottom line is they burned heretics at the stake and the religion is cult-like and hasn't basically changed, although they know they're losing their flock. Bring back Vatican two instated of this necromancy.
All of a sudden birth control has become an issue, just because the church is against offering it to their women works, perhaps they should not get tax breaks and other amenities made available to them by the very same government they intend on suing.
Felix Bay Ridge
This lawsuit is ridiculous, the church is pretty much saying that the government is denying them the right to deny other people rights!
All people in this country should have the right for birth control, family planning, and most importantly women should have the right be in control of their futures and their own bodies.
This country was founded on the principles of freedom, not Catholicism.
Sarah from East Harlem
COULD THIS BE ONE OF THE REASONS CATHOLICS ARE CONVERTING TO OTHER KINDER, NON BLIND THINKING RELIGIONS?
FAMILIES SOMETIMES HAVE UNPLANNED PREGNANCIES WITH MANY REASONS FOR THE OUTCOME. NOTHING LIKE MAKING A BAD SCENE WORSE.
JOE, BAY TERRACE
Cardinal Dolan should keep his opinions about birth control to himself and leave politics to the policy makers. Hearing him call the practice of birth control "morally repugnant" is vomit inducing. It seems inappropriate for a religious leader, especially in New York City, to display his political convictions in such a public manner. Keep it within the flock.
Gabrielle, West Village
The Catholic Church should not be able to “have it both ways;” if it’s going to fund its charitable efforts in part with government funding, it should be subject to Federal mandates just like any other employer. Maybe some of us out there find it “morally repugnant” to see our tax dollars go towards funding Church-run enterprises; it does not excuse us from having to pay taxes.
I'm a Catholic who is sick of the "christians" and in particular the NY Archdiocese and the Vatican.
In my experience with the church, our monsignor stole money from our parish (500K), pedophilia has run rampant, and there is a continued subjugation of women. Not very christian is it?
Now with this lawsuit, I noticed Cardinal Dolan spoke of all the programs they will have to cut (as if they were hurting for money), but there was no mention of cutting the money which is and/or will be spent on restoring St. Patrick's Cathedral.
I believe it's long past time for the church to consider WWJD?
The church should not only listen to the laity, but respond in kind to their laity. I'm sick of
Catholic leaders getting on the political soapbox. I can't even listen to them up on the alter anymore.
Trying - as a father - to understand how the Catholic Church vs Obama contraception issue is being presented in the media as an issue only for women... Do people believe children only have one parent?
Why would you force a religious faith to do something that is out of harmony with their religious beliefs.
Damond, Brooklyn NY
I've always considered myself a devout Roman Catholic. I am appalled at what the Cardinal is doing regarding the birth control issue. He absolutely does not speak for me --or any of the other women R.C. friends I have. His callous anti-woman behavior in no way resembles my idea of what a honest follower of Jesus would do.
I question his real motive. It cannot be a true faith issue --
How many men are asked if they are in a committed relationship before being prescribed viagra. This is so full of double standards. Politicians cant keep they're own pants zipped and they want to police our bedrooms. Insane
The history of the catholic church is that of preventing human progress under the guise of charity. Why should this issue be any different?
I am a gay catholic woman, so clearly I do not support every aspect of the Catholic church HOWEVER, President Obama would not tell Muslims that they need to eat pork...it is not the governments decision to infringe it's belief's on a religious system.
The insurance companies are laughing behind close doors! The insurance premiums are the same whether OCPs are included or not. There are generic OCPs which are covered, and more than 85% of women take birth control pills. What about vasectomy? Should vasectomy be covered by medical insurance? Of course, it is. Contraceptive pills are also covered. A woman is fertile and can get pregnant for as long as she is not menopause. I took birth control pills since I was 30 years old until I was around 48. Why? Because I already have 2 children, and I'm married and very much sexually active. What more reason do I need to take birth control pills? The Church nor the government do not have any right to intrude the use of any method of contraception. Use of condom or birth control pills are both methods of contraception. I'm a Roman Catholic, and my taling birth control pills has nothing to do with my religious belief.
I find Cardinal Dolan and his religion morally repulsive and odious and without any credibility. If we are going to do away with exemptions, let's get rid of the tax exemption that the church enjoys.
Who has the right to impose their morality on women who work for Catholic run institutions?
Each individual woman should have that right. That's where the decisions should be made -- in the hands of the women concerned.
The new exemption for the catholic church is far more than enough to satisfy concerns. They get tax breaks on property yet they want to commingle their beliefs into the political structure of America. If you want BC, go to your doctor, don't rely on the church. As for the church, it has a history of attempting to influence the govt to further its own agenda. This is bigger than beliefs, it's about making a statement. Just because you are the catholic church does not mean you can get what you want. I have an idea! Since the church runs such a successful business, let's allow them their cause for complaint and begin to impose property tariffs on them, just to make sure everything is on an equal playing field. This will definitely solve the debt crisis
I think this shows just how one-sided the church is... it is run by men, therefore dictates according to their advantage/liking. If birth control is "unnatural" and going against God's will, so is Viagra. I don't hear the church going crazy over Viagra. Maybe God didn't intend for certain men to perform. If men get to use viagra (artificial means), women should have right to choose to use birth control pills.
-J. Lee from upper east side.
The practice of birth control is a Constitutional right, and the requirement that employers
provide their employees with health coverage will soon be a matter of law. As such,
employers should not have the right to decide which medical services this coverage
will provide, nor should they be allowed to micro-manage which medical services employees may receive under this coverage from their medical providers any more than they can dictate which services these employees receive when they pay for it themselves.
I respect the right of the Church to defend its beliefs with regard to the primarily theological issue of contraception, not to mention the bio-ethical issue of abortion, but wouldn't this money be better spent caring for the multitudes of impoverished, neglected, and abused children who, perhaps, might be fewer in number but for the Church's anachronistic zealotry in support of population propagation?
Manhattan Beach, Brooklyn
I think there isn't always a separation between church and state, I mean look at the
dollar bill. It has "in god we trust".
I sense hypocrisy. Does the Catholic Church only allow Viagra subscriptions for men who are married and are intending to father children?
As a taxpayer, I would much rather support the availability of Birth Control than the costs associated with an unwanted pregnancy - especially for underinsured or uninsured women.
Until the late 70s marital rape was legal. Justified by the bible, put into by law. Same for slavery, same for gay rights and same for birth control. When we look outside of the book and think progressively, we make major strides as a society.
Patrick from Astoria
Since Churchs get Tax break, they should follow the laws. They don't need to pay more for the coverage, so what's their problem? Plus, if women don't take the pills, they'll more likely to have unwanted children and treat the children "differently" or abortions. Which one is worse?
I support the lawsuit.
Those who are pushing this legislation speak as though there is no other option for women if they are not able to obtain contraception through health insurance paid for by their employer. However, affordable contraceptives are available through Planned Parenthood and similar organizations. Besides basic contraceptives, the legislation includes coverage for abortion and abortion-inducing drugs which is against the basic beliefs of the Catholic Church and other religious institutions; coercing a religious institution to do something that is against its basic beliefs is unconstitutional. Why is a constitutional right being violated when there are other options? If women, including Catholics, choose to obtain contraceptives on their own, they are free to do so, but the Church shouldn’t be forced to subsidize it.
This is about constitutional freedom, not about a war on women.
Americans continually hold themselves up as a bastion of women's rights. We're forever criticizing Muslims and Muslim countries for their women's rights violations and here we are in 2012 speaking about one of the most absolutely basic rights for women as though it's the 15th Century. The right to separation of church and state does not supersede the church's obligation to protect the health and welfare of its women. It's policy is grossly sexist and an affront to women. Beyond contraception, it sends a message that women are second class citizens.
I believe that any church that becomes involved in governmental affairs should be made to pay federal and state taxes. Yet, I do not believe that any government, church or other establishment should have any intrusion into what I choose to put in my body. I
have more knowledge about my body than church or governmental agency.
A health insurance policy is a package, and should offer all of the benefits that any employee would receive at any other publicly funded institution.
If an employee is religious, it should be up to their conscience to decide whether they use contraceptives or not, or up to the moral suasion of the religion they belong to. But religious institutions don't want their employees to be able to make that choice, so they are trying to force the federal government to take that choice away. Apparently they don't have confidence in their ability to sway their employees on purely religious grounds.
If they can't push this suit through the court, will they force their religious employees to make a choice between giving up their insurance or losing their jobs? Will they start hiring only on the basis of religious practices? That won't look quite as much like a discussion about religious freedom, will it?
I'm a Catholic woman and I use the pill because I suffer from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome and I use it to regulate my hormones. It was prescribed to me by my doctor. So not everyone uses the pill because they "want to sleep around" as so many people assume, it also has other uses.
Tara in Manhattan
Hi John. I had the chance to speak on the show tonight, I was the caller from Bay Ridge. If you are going to host a "Round Table" discussion on the Contraception Mandate proposal with differing views I would love to attend your show in person as a devout Catholic.
I hold a degree in theology, I am respectful and would bring an engaging perspective to the talk.
Will you be doing anything like this soon?
This is the very reason why the catholic church are losing more and more young people, because of these frustrated men running the church. How dare they!!!! What century are they living in? Woman have the right to do what they want. They should worry about what the priests are doing to young children never mind telling woman not to take birth control.
The government should stay out of religious institutions. The gov mandating Catholic institutions to provide birth control is the same as the gov mandating that pork be served at all Jewish institutions. None of their business.
If non-Catholic women who are working at those institution are demanding it, they should get a job elsewhere.
If the federal government does not back down, I would turn over responsibility to feed and care for the poor to the government.
Men need to stay out of the dialog on birth control, until they start taking responsibility for their own actions, i.e. wearing condoms, banning Viagra, volunteering for vasectomy.
Perhaps the social services covered by federal/state spend currently shared by ALL taxpayers should be covered by the Catholic church directly (medicaid, social work, mental health, prison costs for catholics) for Catholics? Remove the tax exemption AND require they provide the services – long term.
And if they can’t afford it, they can sell a ring or two. Jesus didn’t have any that I’ve ever seen.
Men need to stay out of the dialog on birth control, until they start taking responsibility for their own actions, i.e. wearing condoms, banning Viagra, volunteering for vasectomy.
Robin in the Village
Only women really have to worry about birth control! Men have absolutely nothinG to worry about in this regard.... men don't get pregnant! The Cardinal, the Pope & the rest of the priests are all MEN! How dare they tell women what to do. What happened to equal rights???
I normally do not read blogs and I was sorry for the waste of time, I find and lack of understanding the issues the Catholic Church faces. I will keep it simple for those who are challenged, in this blogosphere, the Church has no obligation to pay for your indiscretion or sinfull activities, as a member I feel the Bishops are correct, so get over it, pay for your own supplies or get Obama to cover your costs,you will live longer.
Ideologically, it seems that Cardinal Dolan is stuck somewhere in the 14th century with his hard-line tactics and beliefs. Don't be fooled by his "hail fellow, well-met" jollies! I guess he hasn't gotten the memo that if a woman takes birth control pills, the number of abortions generally go way down. Since he's BOTH anti-contraception and anti-abortion (and not a woman nor a doctor!), it's a wonder he can keep his head on straight with the contradictions he lives with! If he wants to dictate to the federal government and expect to be "obeyed", then his church can pay plenty of taxes for the privilege. Did you know that years ago the Catholic Church took out insurance with AIGto help them pay for legal proceedings brought against the RC Church from the victims of the sins of pedophile priests -- and they couldn't collect? (I found this info on the good ole internet.) Dolan also wants to keep a statute of limitations about who can and cannot sue the Roman Catholic Church for priest abuse! Lives can be shattered, but Dolan wants to go back to the "good ole days" of oppression when Rome dictated to the known world at that time, and the world jumped on command. Not my cup of tea (and I had the nuns for 12 years! -- that in itself is enough, depending on your personal experience, to cure you of thinking the RC Church is just the best place to be and forward-thinking enough to want the best for its people).
No way. That's my say.
J. E. O'Connor
New York, NY
A women who use's birthcontrol does not mean that they are permiscues.
This is an issue of two conflicting sets of of rights. The Catholic church has the right to not pay for contraception. Women working in Catholic institutions have the right not to be discriminated against for not following the rules of Catholicism by having to pay extra for contraception. the current compromise from the Obama administration protects both sides, although the rights of women are of course less covered in the media This is part of the increasing move backward by the very conservative current Catholic hierararchy, further illustrated by the church's censure and punishment of nuns who the church claims spend too much time teaching and caring for the poor and not enough time speaking out and working against contraception, abortion, and homosexuality. Also the decision to let St. Vincent's Hospital close, and now Dolan is wanting to spend many millions of dollars to refurbish St. Patrick's cathedral. They have lost sight of the true Christian mission to minister to all, especially the needy. I doubt that this is anything Jesus would have pursued.
Who is bringing the lawsuit? What attorneys are they using and how will they pay for them?
You can't keep parishes open. Are you sure Catholics in the pews will support this or stop donating?