Government gets backlash from imposing birth control in health insurance plans

POSTED: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - 4:15pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, February 7, 2012 - 6:01pm

From the pulpit and on the internet, outraged Catholic clergy have been preaching against the White House decision requiring catholic hospitals, charities and other institutions to include birth control in their health insurance plans.

"Never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their conscience," said Archbishop Timothy Dolan with the U.S. Conference of Bishops.

The administration says religiously-owned providers should not be allowed to impose their faith on non-Catholic employees. The rule does not apply to churches themselves, and supporters say the constitution mandates a separation of church and state.

"People are not being forced to adopt a new set of religious beliefs by this rule,” said ACLU representative Laura Murphy. “They can practice their religion as they see fit, they can choose not to use birth control."

28 states already require contraceptive services to be included in health benefits.

"We are going to work with institutions that have concerns here, but I think it's important to note that we believe that American women deserve to have access to that kind of insurance coverage regardless of where they work," said Jay Carney, White House Press Secretary.

In this volatile campaign, Republican candidates are calling it a war on religion.

Newt Gingrich said, "This is a decision so totally outrageous and an illustration of such radical secular ideology that I believe the entire hierarchy will oppose it every inch of the way."

The Romney campaign is trying to organize opponents to sign an online petition against the new rule.

"We must have a president who is willing to protect America's first right, our right to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience," stated Romney.

While the candidates focus on the politics, other Republicans say it's a fundamental moral question.

The new policy has even touched a nerve with some liberal democrats.

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