Catholic leaders favor contraception shift

Feb. 15, 2012 at 4:41 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 15 (UPI) -- U.S. Catholic leaders spoke out Wednesday to affirm their support for President Barack Obama's insurance reform on contraception coverage.

Stephen Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America, said Friday's announcement of the revision to the regulation "by and large resolved the religious liberty concerns."

"I am confident this accommodation creates mechanism to establish greater moral distance between Catholic institutions and contraception than we have had before," Schneck said in a statement.

Many of the speakers did not support the initial religious exemption ruling concerning contraception last week but were pleased to see the Obama administration engage with Catholic leaders and others to find a solution that assuaged religious liberty concerns voiced by a number of religious leaders.

The revised contraception regulation announced by Obama Friday allows religious institutions to opt out of providing contraception coverage for employees and enables employees to instead obtain contraception directly from insurance providers.

The Catholic organizations in support represent a broad cross-section of the Catholic community and the biggest providers of social services:

-- Catholic Health Association, the largest group of non-profit health providers in the nation with more than 600 hospitals and 1,400 long-term care and other health facilities in all 50 states.

-- Catholic Charities USA, the second-largest social-service provider in the United States, surpassed only by the federal government.

-- Prominent Catholic theologians and professors as well as evangelical and mainline Protestant leaders.

-- University of Notre Dame.

-- Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.

-- Catholics United.

-- NETWORK: A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby.

-- Sisters of Mercy.

-- Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

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