Most healthcare plans will be required to cover birth control [including abortafacients] without charging co-pays or deductibles starting Aug. 1, the Obama administration announced Friday.
The final regulation retains the approach federal health officials proposed last summer, despite the deluge of complaints from religious groups and congressional Republicans that has poured in since then. Churches, synagogues and other houses of worship are exempt from the requirement, but religious-affiliated hospitals and universities only get a one-year delay and must comply by Aug. 1, 2013.
Carl Olson (Ignatius Press has a roundup of reactions from the Catholic hierarchy -- including that of Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York.
- How to Lie with Statistics, Example Umpteen Lydia McGrew (What's Wrong With The World) on the statistical meme presently going around to the effect that "98% of Catholic women use birth control."
- White House Misrepresents Its Own Contraceptive Mandate (02/03/12) - The Obama administration, to justify its widely criticized mandate for contraception and sterilization coverage in private health plans, has posted a set of false and misleading claims on the White House blog (“Health Reform, Preventive Services, and Religious Institutions,” February 1). Each White House claim is quoted with a response from the Catholic Bishops.
- "Phoney War Redux" - Noting that the HHS initiative "is being led by a nominal Catholic, Kathleen Sebelius" Dale Price asserts:
The next step is clear--Sebelius has to be excommunicated. Let me repeat: she must be excommunicated. Counseled beforehand, of course. But if she persists, excommunicated. There is no dancing around the fact any more.
- Suing Sebelius The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty is representing Belmont Abbey College in its lawsuit against the secretary of HHS over this mandated conscience violation. (National Review)
- The Pope's alarming message on American religious freedom, by Phil Lawler. (Catholic Culture): "Is it humiliating for American political leaders to read that Pope Benedict sees an erosion of religious freedom in our country? It should be."