facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Birth control draws bishops into debate

July 5, 2012 at 11:01 AM   |   Comments

| License Photo
WASHINGTON, July 5 (UPI) -- Efforts to overturn the birth control mandate in the healthcare law raise questions about how assertive U.S. Catholic bishops can be, observers said.

"Fortnight for Freedom," organized by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, capped its two-week campaign Wednesday with a celebration at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.

Bishops also helped to organize about 12 lawsuits filed across the country that challenge the law's mandate that healthcare plans include contraceptive services. Fifty-six plaintiffs have filed 23 lawsuits against the Health and Human Services Department mandate, including three Protestant educational institutions.

"We have seen an incredible intensity on this issue," said Maureen Ferguson, a senior policy adviser at the Catholic Association, told Roll Call in an article published Thursday.

But the campaign against the contraceptive mandate has drawn criticism from progressive Catholics, watchdog groups and some bishops, Roll Call reported. Bishop Stephen E. Blaire, sitting in Stockton, Calif., told a Catholic newspaper in May "different groups … are trying to co-opt this and make it into a political issue."

Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the bishops' actions also draw focus to tax rules barring charities from partisan politics.

"The bishops have been far from even-handed in their political activities," Lynn told reporters last month. "At some point, it may raise questions about compliance with federal tax law, which forbids [charitable] tax-exempt organizations from favoring or opposing candidates for public office."

The bishops maintain "Fortnight for Freedom" is about prayer, not politics.

"It's important to say the struggle we are engaging in here is not a partisan issue," Baltimore Archbishop William Lori said in June. "We didn't choose the time. We didn't choose the place."

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Iranian woman accused of killing attempted rapist executed Iranian woman accused of killing attempted rapist executed
2
California officer allegedly stole nude photos during arrest California officer allegedly stole nude photos during arrest
3
California Marine dies in Islamic State mission in Iraq California Marine dies in Islamic State mission in Iraq
4
Canada reflects on a week of domestic terror Canada reflects on a week of domestic terror
5
[UPDATE] Two Calif. deputies killed, two others shot [UPDATE] Two Calif. deputies killed, two others shot
Trending News
Around the Web
x
Feedback