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February 14th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Column: Stop playing politics with women’s access to contraception

Editor's Note: Rev. Debra Haffner is an ordained Unitarian Universalist minister, and is the co-founder and Executive Director of The Religious Institute, a multifaith organization advocating for sexuality education, sexual health, and sexual justice in America’s faith communities and society.

By Rev. Debra Haffner, special to Erin Burnett OutFront

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ decision to reject the White House compromise on birth control access in health insurance is further evidence that their concern is not religious liberty, but playing politics with women’s lives. Under the White House plan, Catholic institutions do not have to financially support contraceptive care; no woman has to use it. The Bishops’ cloaking their anti-women’s sexuality view in religious liberty arguments is nothing more than their trying to do with health insurance reform what they have not been able to do from the pulpit: deny women access to modern contraceptives.

Secular leaders on the right, like Penny Nance from Concerned Women for America, distort the debate, incorrectly stating that women have access to birth control without insurance, or that some birth control methods work by causing abortions. Many women are unable to pay for contraceptive care out of pocket and many do without; this is part of the reason why half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended. And no modern method of birth control works by causing women to spontaneously miscarry a pregnancy.

The Roman Catholic Bishops do not speak for religion on contraception; they do not even speak for American Catholics who by in large ignore their teaching on sexuality issues, from premarital sex to contraception to LGBT equality. As of today, twenty-nine major national mainstream religious leaders have endorsed a statement supporting the White House decision that contraceptive services must be covered by insurance policies without deductibles or co-pays, and only purely sectarian organizations – churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples – will be exempt from this requirement. The signers of this letter come from 27 national organizations that represent millions of religious leaders and people of faith across the country.

There is nothing new about religious organizations supporting the provision of contraception and women’s moral agency to decide when, whether, and if to use birth control. More than 20 denominations have policies affirming birth control, passed as early as 1959. More than 4000 religious leaders have endorsed the Religious Declaration, including a faith-based commitment to voluntary contraception.

There is an authentic, historically ground religious Jewish and Christian perspective that supports access to birth control. It is precisely because of the religious belief that life is sacred, that mainstream religious leaders for decades have been committed to assuring access to contraceptive services so that all pregnancies are intended. Religious leaders from distinct traditions affirm that individuals’ must have the moral agency to make decisions about their sexuality and reproductive health without governmental interference or legal restrictions.
Our belief in religious liberty and the separation of church and state means that we understand that no single religious voice should speak for all faith traditions on contraception or any other sexuality issues, and that the government should never take sides on religious differences. Just as Jehovah Witnesses who run secular institutions must cover blood transfusions for their employees, and Christian Scientists who run secular institutions must offer health insurance for their employees, there is no religious conflict for Roman Catholic affiliated hospitals and universities to allow their employees access to health insurance that includes contraception.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.


Filed under: Opinion • Politics
soundoff (359 Responses)
  1. Jfidu

    The issue is the bishops feel they are being forced to pay for something they believe wrong. Bishops have every right to complain about something they are paying for. Spin doctors move us away from the issue being presented. If it is unamerican to be anti gay,anti union,anti business,anti Arab,and also anti catholic.
    .

    February 15, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Reply
    • Mike Hayes

      At http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=15551538265464303476&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr, Chief Justice Burger writes:

      "... When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity. Granting an exemption from social security taxes to an employer operates to impose the employer's religious faith on the employees. Congress drew a line in § 1402(g), exempting the self-employed Amish but not all persons working for an Amish employer. The tax imposed on employers to support the social security system must be uniformly applicable to all, except as Congress provides explicitly otherwise.[12]...".

      This did not allow an exemption from paying social security taxes to Amish, who believed that they were obligated to directly support the elderly Amish.

      February 15, 2012 at 6:58 pm | Reply
    • Arik Fetscher

      Just reading through the comments don't particularly think many are on point. The reality is closer to what cabinet member Sarwi said that a strong Christian is capable of accepting other religions and simply having a voice at the discussions and table concerning faith and government is what is really needed. The discussion on religion at the supreme court and references interesting done that myself, but the answer is that the supreme court may offer advice but the freedom of religion can not counter vene and individuals liberty where the state is concerned. Access does not counter or equate to acceptance the discussion is twisted but this group seems like it is trying to follow through on old topics I find it better to look forward. It's a pity that you don't seem to have a more positive voice on these topics or ability to see that the real issue is common ground a real pity. It would be wise to look at each situation as unique and prior decision a baseline for discussion. By the way insurance covers in vitro is that any different or just a different way to look at the issue, that's a positive view and the better way to discuss the issue. Maybe that just takes a more thoughtful approach.

      February 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Reply
  2. AngryBob

    I'd forgotten about the other religions like the Christian Scientists and Jehovah's Witnesses. You're absolutely correct. If you're going to play in the secular sandbox, you'll have to play by secular rules. If you don't like it, get out of the sandbox.

    February 15, 2012 at 9:04 am | Reply
  3. Tsgt Smako

    So why is it that Obama decrees like the kings of old and everyone bows to him? This isn't a law, it's Obama telling christians they have to fund birth control. Are the Muslims being told they have to let their daughters have birth control?

    February 15, 2012 at 1:02 am | Reply
    • KeevaS

      Actually it is a law – The Affordable Health Care Act. And, yes. Muslims, Jews, Mormons Atheists and everyone else will have to follow the same rules.

      It is the height of arrogance by these tired, corrupt old Bishops that they think this is about them and that they somehow have a divine right to order everyone else around. They need to learn the difference between religious freedom – which they have and will continue to have and religious oppression – which these bishops practice with their demands that the greater society follow their laws and that they be allowed to not only ignore the laws of the rest of the society, but that they be allowed to force those laws on everyone else.

      Want to know why more Jews are not Republicans? This is exactly why. The constant chatter of "Christian values," and "America is a Christian nation." No, it is not. We came here precisely because there was no state religion and now these corrupt old men want to create one.

      February 15, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  4. Al

    Sorry Rev. Debra Haffner, but my understanding of theology tells me that the will of the Author of Life is paramount – my will or pleasure needs to be subservient to the eternal good meant to be shared by all.

    February 14, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Reply
    • Tom

      So the church says no counseling women about contraception but its O.K. to counsel soldiers in time of war ?
      Soldiers kill last time I checked.
      Just more hypocrisy.
      " Thou Shall Not Steal " yet the Pope sits on a treasure trove of booty stolen though the ages from all over the world ...
      Its the 21st century – how many more billions of " Gods Children " do we have room for ?
      And why cant a women be Pope ?
      Sounds like bigotry to me.
      Doesnt matter the Church is losing members every day due to its stone age mentality.

      February 15, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Reply
      • sortakinda

        The pope sits on booty stolen from around the world? It's hard to get people to even listen to you if yuou make assinine statements like that

        February 16, 2012 at 10:28 am | Reply
        • SlayFalseGod

          Thieves. Pure and Simple.

          February 16, 2012 at 10:43 am | Reply
  5. j

    moderator, interesting the posts you chose to edit...and those not to. Are you the author or her cousin?

    February 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      Right on. No news media outlet is NOT biased. Do you know that only 8 comments, all in favor of the author's postion were posted on this article for three days? And CNN says the positions espoused are only those of the author, not CNN's. Would you like to buy a bridge that connects NYC and Brooklyn?

      February 16, 2012 at 10:31 am | Reply
  6. Debra

    Let Erin Burnett know that the name of the preacher she said might do Whitney's funeral is Pastor Marvin Winans not Martin and Cece Winans is his sister not his daughter

    February 14, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Reply
  7. Eric in TN

    Women can have all the contraceptives they want. Just don't make me (through my insurance premiums) pay for it.

    February 14, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      Why are contraceptives only an issue for women? Are men not involved in starting a pregnancy too? A woman on the pill also protects her mate from becoming an unwilling father.
      Now, let's look at another aspect. About 30% of oral contraceptive use is not for birth control but to reduce debilitating menstrual pain and heavy menstrual bleeding, and also to treat serious diseases such as polycystic ovarian syndrome. I understand men like you cannot suffer from those diseases and would not want them covered by their health insurance. But then, just to be fair and equal, women should not have to pay for conditions they cannot suffer from, such as ED, enlarged prostate, or even prostate cancer. Do you see where you stupid logic takes us?

      February 16, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  8. Charles W. Watson

    The issue is the First ammendemnt.Haffner has tendered much inaccurate data on Catholicism.

    Slanted comments are obvious slurs on beliefs.LGBT as a venue for negativity.If Timothy,Corinthins,

    Romans,and Jesus's comments in Mark have any relevance to Haffner, this wouldn't have

    been included in her piece.If she doesn't believe that killing the least of humans(the unborn)

    is murder,then she is blind to evil and anyone else for that matter.

    February 14, 2012 at 7:09 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      Unitarianism = a little of this, a little of that, and a whole lot of bunk that makes no sense.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:33 am | Reply
    • Saludia

      I thought the post was about contraception, not abortion. These are 2 separate concepts.

      February 17, 2012 at 10:44 am | Reply
  9. Jenny

    I liked this article. I find it absolutely amazing that so many people / organizations, etc. want to control every single element of other people's lives. This whole "debate" about contraception could have been avoided if these "holier-than-thou" folks would do one thing: Mind your Own Business! And stay the heck out of mine!

    February 14, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Reply
    • Harry

      Yeah, I wish the government would stay out of our lives too. Here's a news flash, if you don't want to be Catholic, don't be. No one is forcing you.

      February 15, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
      • sortakinda

        So the government shouldn't be forcing Catholics to do what conscience and dogma dictate that they not do. Right?

        February 16, 2012 at 10:35 am | Reply
  10. Mark

    This isn't about birth control, its about 1st amendment rights: State vs Church.
    Birth control is just a distraction from the issue.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Reply
    • Mike Hayes

      Over the years, the supreme court has ruled against claims of exceptions to legal requirements of general applicability on the grounds of violation of religious beliefs, including for Native Americans, Mormons, and Amish persons. If the court would now reach a different decision for catholics, that might stir up some sense of unfairness by persons who are not catholic.

      For example, at http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=15551538265464303476&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr, Chief Justice Burger writes:

      "...Congress and the courts have been sensitive to the needs flowing from the Free Exercise Clause, but every person cannot be shielded from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs. When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity. Granting an exemption from social security taxes to an employer operates to impose the employer's religious faith on the employees. Congress drew a line in § 1402(g), exempting the self-employed Amish but not all persons working for an Amish employer. The tax imposed on employers to support the social security system must be uniformly applicable to all, except as Congress provides explicitly otherwise.[12]...".

      I think the second sentence is relevant to the issue of Catholic hospitals.

      Other examples are at:

      Examples can be found at:

      http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0494_0872_ZO.html
      http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=1104642225155375579&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

      The first opinion was written by Justice Scalia, in 1990.

      February 15, 2012 at 6:35 pm | Reply
  11. Dr John

    Birth control pills work by preventing ovulation and by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. The author is incorrect when she contradicts the view that some forms of birth control act as early abortion.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      Hey, Doc, she's a Unitarian. All SHE has to do is BELIEVE she's right and she's right, and then convince YOU.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:36 am | Reply
  12. Penses

    It is clear that socially conservative republicans as represented by Rick Santorum believe that decisions regarding a woman's reproductive choices and in some cases her health are best left to her pastor and her politician.
    It is truly frightening that the same people who rail against ficticious plots by American Muslims to impose Sharia law on America have no problem supporting what would amount to a Christian version of Sharia law.
    Our founding fathers understood well the dangers of being governed by a Theocracy in which unelected clerics; e.g. The Catholic Council of Bishops or their evangelical counterparts could hold sway over our political leaders who would codify into law their religions beliefs; which would, if left unchecked, begin to control every aspect of a citizens life including the personal freedoms that we hold so dear. I hope that American women will chose to protect their hard won rights in November and vote to soundly reject the proponents of this neo-theocracy.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Reply
    • Penses

      Awaiting modification?
      Not sure who your censors are but they are either WAT TOO politically correct or they clearly don't value free speech!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Reply
  13. jon

    All very, very religious people are nuts. Quite often turning into serial killers.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Reply
    • RillyKewl

      Religiosity = Psychosis?
      I suppose you could make that argument.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Reply
    • jb

      All very, very "< fill in the group you hate" people are nuts. Quite often turning into serial killers.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm | Reply
      • sortakinda

        Serial killers were "pre-serial killers" who turned into serial killers. Happens every time.

        February 16, 2012 at 10:38 am | Reply
    • Brian

      ones belief has nothing to do with serial killing. there psychotic. I wouldn't call Charlie Manson and Andrew Cunanan religious. there are loons on both sides of the spectrum and insinuating one is prone to awful acts is ignorant

      February 14, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Reply
    • Realist

      Actually, you are wrong. Serial killers, on average, are much less religious than the population as a whole.

      February 14, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      And this comment passed "moderation?" What a joke.

      February 15, 2012 at 8:44 am | Reply
  14. Jeff

    This whole debate highlights one more reason health insurance needs to be decoupled from employment. Until individuals can shop for their own coverage and insurers must compete again one another in an open market, this sort of thing is just going to continue. My employer doesn't provide me with auto or homeowner's coverage, why should health coverage be any different?

    February 14, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Reply
  15. John M

    Here's how you unfairly frame an argument.

    1. Choose a side.
    2. Create article called "Stop playing politics with !"

    Translation: "Stop disagreeing with me! It's just wrong!"

    February 14, 2012 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  16. jeanette Bailey

    No one in either party is calling for a ban on contraceptives..they are available on every street corner drug store and grocery store all over the nation to buy and use whenever any womens chooses. So that does not make a women's rights issue..either. This is just an issue for voters to avoid talking about the real issues and policies of both political parties in the upcoming election.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      May I add the idea of cost? Some women in low paying jobs may not be able to afford the pill and even less to raise a child.
      Are you proposing that we remove from your health insurance anything that is available for purchase in a pharmacy? You know, because you could just go and buy it, right?

      February 16, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Reply
      • James H. Black

        Chris. This is about people who have jobs with businesses supported or funded by religious organizations that have a position against contraception (which I disagree with). I don't see many if any of those jobs being so "low paying" as to prevent those people from paying for their own contraception. In fact, my wife works for a Catholic school and we have to pay for our own contraception. I belief that these religious organizations should not be forced into violating their beliefs. This is a religious freedom issue and not a women's health issue. Trying to frame it into a women's health issue is disingenuous.

        February 22, 2012 at 8:37 am | Reply
  17. Charles McCormack

    As a former Roman Catholic, altar boy, and now Unitarian, I am proud of what Rev. Haffner has so eloquently written. This is NOT an issue of "religious liberty", and it is NOT up to supposedly-celibate Catholic bishops, archbishops, cardinals and right-wing-Republicans-who-hate-Obama to claim that it is. It's a false issue!

    February 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      You'd be welcomed back, should you ever decide to leave Never-Never Land.

      February 16, 2012 at 10:40 am | Reply
  18. Lee

    I will state straight up I'm catolic, so biased I guess. Not sure what I think on the issue. I do have issues though with the authors arguments. She states all the churches who are for providing birth control. That's fine. But even if every church but one, 99.99% supported it, that doesn't mean the one church should change it's beliefs which is really is the authors intent here. It's not about respecting a religions beliefs but trying to change is, is it not? You can argue it's not about religion but politics, but then she states how many religions are for the plan, it's faulty logic. It's also a bit disingenuous to state Christian churches long pro contraception stance when it was illegal in this overwhelmingly Protestant country not that long ago (mostly due to anti catholic bigotry and the fear by Protestants that Catholics would take over). I respect your right to believe what you believe, I may even agree with it, but don't tell the Catholic church it can't believe what it has taught for 2000 years just because a bunch of other churches have changed their beliefs and believe differently.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      You put it very well. Unitarians are relativists. Catholics believe that there are absolutes. Even if the Bishops changed their minds and every card-carrying Catholic agreed, if something is OBJECTIVELY WRONG no democratic vote can make it right. It always amazes me how many of those who oppose the Catholic Church know exactly how many Catholics use birth control, have had abortions and do whatever else the opponents claim to be PRIVATE.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:06 am | Reply
  19. one11one

    The church doesn't believe in religious freedom. They preach people will burn in hell for not practicing their religion. The issue is really about Obama care. But the Bishops are milking the issue to protect the power and influence they have enjoyed for 2000 years but now see is slowly slipping away. The GOP is milking it to fire up its base. Obama is milking it to get votes by giving away "free" stuff.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:14 pm | Reply
  20. Naji

    This issue is sooooo stupid. When did Catholic's (which I am one) become the deciders for all people? Last time a check if you choose to employ someone you must follow the laws for employers like everyone else. These are not a churches, these are church owned business. No different if I owned a business and employed people. I would still be required to cover their health care needs. Freedom of religion allows you to practice your own personal religion, not use that religion as a means to force other people to suffer your convictions. This is America not Catholica. If you want everybody to follow your rules. Start your own country. What is wrong with us now a days. We act as if everybody should live our lives and share our views. Even Jesus said, "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's." So shut up about it!!

    February 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Reply
  21. partysstink

    Every thing anyone does concerning DC is about politics any more not about helping people.

    February 14, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  22. Sortakinda

    Could you please pass the Wonder white bread. Nine comments? Oh. It is your website and YOU make the rules?
    You really locked the door on this one.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      FYI This comment was made during the three days that CNN posted only 8 comments, all in favor of the author's statements, and claimed that she did not reflect CNN's view. Then somehow, the doors were opened and both sides were heard.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:10 am | Reply
  23. Jim Sadilek

    As a baptized and non practicing Catholic, I am appalled to think that people do not see this for what it is and that is an attack against the Catholic Church – if this goes to the highest court it will be overturned.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Reply
    • Mike Hayes

      I think prior US Supreme Court decisions involving beliefs of Native Americans, Amish, and Mormons indicates that the bishops would lose...

      http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0494_0872_ZO.html
      http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=1104642225155375579&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr
      http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=15551538265464303476&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

      For example, at the last link, Chief Justice Burger writes:

      "...Congress and the courts have been sensitive to the needs flowing from the Free Exercise Clause, but every person cannot be shielded from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs. When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity. Granting an exemption from social security taxes to an employer operates to impose the employer's religious faith on the employees. Congress drew a line in § 1402(g), exempting the self-employed Amish but not all persons working for an Amish employer. The tax imposed on employers to support the social security system must be uniformly applicable to all, except as Congress provides explicitly otherwise.[12]...".

      I think the second sentence is relevant to the issue of Catholic hospitals.

      The first opinion was written by Justice Scalia, in 1990.

      February 15, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Reply
  24. cb

    I agree with Rev. Debra Haffner's comment. I am for prevention and early termination (morning after or Plan B) of unwanted and unintended pregnancies. Children brought into this world deserve to be loved and should not suffer from malnutrition or abuse.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      So if YOU don't want em, kill em? Do you treat your pets that way? Seems a little drastic.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:12 am | Reply
      • KBS

        Actually, it's considered normal behavior, and even humane to euthanize a pet if it's in ill health or pain. However, I consider your analogy invalid since it would be impossible for me to be, say, raped with that assault resulting in a...pet.

        February 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Reply
    • melodious

      The morning after and plan b do not terminate an already existing pregnancy.

      February 16, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Reply
      • KBS

        Melodius, don't bother. You're trying to reason with people who refuse to believe the scientific fact and overwhelming medical consensus that a woman is not pregnant until the fertilized egg has implanted in her uterine wall. Though I guess that's not surprising since the church itself has never been great at science, and tends to make up rules that suit it at the time. (A fetus not being a person until 40 days or "quickening" comes to mind.)

        February 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  25. Gallienus

    Currently we are in a situation where a large fraction of babies born are to women who do not want them (aside from the Gov't support $ which comes with them) nor have the ability to care for them. It is statistically shown that these children grow up to have less interest in education, a higher tendency towards crime, a higher drain on social resources, and the tendency to have higher birthrates.

    While Catholicism promotes right to life as it may produce more Catholics, ultimately this is damaging our entire society: irregardless of the eventual religion of the children.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:52 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      Your statements seem to be lightly veiled racism, even if not intended. BTW "irregardless" is a double negative. So should we not not believe your point?

      February 16, 2012 at 11:14 am | Reply
  26. Dr Zap

    We all have choices to make in life. And – if there is a God – we'll all be asked to account for what we've done and not done – individually. Take your stance. And be prepared to defend it when your time comes. Though I can't say for certain, I'm pretty sure God isn't going to say "Oh yeah. You're an American. You get a pass for your beliefs even though they are diametrically opposed to My Law." Good luck with that. It isn't God's job to adapt to man. It is man's job to align himself with God = as much as he can. And then – again – prepare to explain the differences when you die.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Reply
  27. Arick

    The world needs more people, we are dangerously underpopulated, true story.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      Many developed countries are actually in negative population growth. The "over population bomb" is a fiction spread by Planned Parenthood.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:17 am | Reply
  28. Atheist

    I agree with the author's stance on birth control. Birth control is probably the single most significant advance in modern civilization next to soap and basic sanitation. But I don't see how a government can force a church organization to fund something they don't believe in. There is a separation of Church and State in this nation, lest we forget, and it cuts both ways.

    If the Catholic employers received government funding, then there could be an argument. But they don't, so there is no argument here. The government has no right to mandate birth control for a church, and I and everyone else who doesn't like it can just stuff it.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Reply
  29. john smiith

    Back in the 60's the civil rights movement and the antiwar movement found religious organizations to be, in many cases, their strongest supporters. We heard the same thing then "Stay out; this is political, you don't belong". Well, these people see contraception and see it as moral issues. Those who don't, fair enough; but if you feel these are moral issues, you should speak out.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Reply
  30. Trilfactor

    Terms of Service must restrict comments that logically counter the argument of the author.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Reply
  31. SaltyPoliticalMusings

    Reblogged this on SaltyPoliticalMusings.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Reply
  32. RickV

    It wouldn't be an issue at all if it hadn't been shoved into the Healthcare Act. If you want it, go to Walmart. It doesn't have to be free, not everybody needs it.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Reply
  33. sortakinda

    To CNN: Are you just going to ditch this article and the comments. Or did your analyst have to leave for an abortion?

    February 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Reply
  34. John

    As for the above article, I agree it is succinct, but definitely not a rational argument. You can just as easily achieve Rev. Haffner’s goal of taking politics out of contraception by simply outlawing all contraception. No more discussion, no more politics. Of course that’s not an acceptable answer for Rev. Haffner, because that would trample on her beliefs. Her argument above is really that everyone should just agree with her and stop arguing. She offers no basis for the conclusion that those who oppose paying for contraception should give up their religious freedom, except some warmed over anti-Catholicism (ignoring all other religious groups that also oppose these new rules), and that she’s in the majority.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Reply
  35. John

    Mr. Kimball – you must sleep very well at night. You simply let the government determine your actions, no need for rational thought, and no responsibility for your own life, and by the way, no need for beliefs. Just let the government tell you what to do and what to believe. Sorry, but I'm not ready to concede my life and freedom to whichever democrat or republican happens to be in the White House this term.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Reply
  36. bct21

    All pregnancies are intended Rev. Haffner... by God. I think it is really unhelpful and divisive for a Protestant clergy to "write-off" the Catholic belief on this topic. Especially in a public way. I'm sure you are not pandering to the masses. Let's see... Unitarian Universalism = 1 milliion members & has been around for 100 years. Roman Catholicism = 1 billion members & has been around for 2,000 years. That's a lot of Catholics you can get in the pews by running your mouth. 🙂

    February 14, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      I agree with you, as do most of the posters I see on this page. However, Unitarianism is not Protestant, it was founded by ethicists, atheists, agnostics, Jews and disaffected others who weren't happy with what other religions were selling, but wanted to be able to say they had a religion that thye followed.

      February 16, 2012 at 11:21 am | Reply
  37. VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

    This law will make BC pills go up in price and she doesn't want to talk about it.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Reply
  38. VVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVVV

    Another Media Matters written article. Are only articles that help Obama allowed. I hope you know his poo stinks too. It would be nice to have a vetted candidate.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Reply
  39. epicjourney

    The author of this piece is pointing the finger the wrong way, she is the one attempting to play politics and assuming she knows what the Catholic Bishops are 'really' thinking. She must think she has esp.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply
  40. longtooth

    All religions should concern themselves with helping to bring people closer to God. The Christian church has never banned warfare, or capital punishment, or killing someone who's trying to kill you. They wring their hands and wish these things would go away, as do most of us. but the reality is that war and murder exist. They should stay out of bedrooms, doctor's offices, and hospital wards, and focus on religion.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Reply
    • john

      and the government should stay out of religion and my bedroom as well.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Reply
    • Trilfactor

      You are aware that the Christian church does not have the power (nor should they) to ban these things?

      February 14, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      Thou shalt not kill.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Reply
    • Giancarlo Taliente

      None of those only aim are to ki11 the most innocent of humans. Those that cannot defend themselves. Why does a woman's right to k ill have to take precedent over a church's right not to be forced to have an insurance plan that not only condones it but makes sure that it is done for FREE>

      February 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm | Reply
    • Chad

      As should government stay out of the budgets of religious organizations.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Reply
    • djusmc7229

      So, only the government should be in bedrooms, doctor's offices, and hospital wards?

      February 14, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Reply
    • RillyKewl

      Well stated. Keep to the pew, and out of your employees' personal affairs.
      If every other employee in America gets coverage, your employees must be allowed to access that same coverage.
      Keep your doctrines where they belong, and away from where they don't.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Reply
    • Tracy Imhoff

      Would you like to see all the great catholic hospitals in this country go away? This is an attack on religious freedom forcing all the catholic hospitals to comply with providing birth control. I as a catholic did make the choice to use birth control, but paid for it myself. I am defiantly against the use of the morning after pill as that is an early abortion. I am 100% pro life. I am not anti prevention of pregnancy prior to conception, however my church is and this bill is against their amendment rights to freedom of religion

      February 14, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Reply
  41. Pete D.

    Those needing religion to guide them through their lives should not be allowed to have an opinion...on anything. Just stay inside your box and don't use contraception if you choose not too...and keep procreating, adding more zombies to flock!

    February 14, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Reply
  42. melion

    As a moderate Catholic and Democrat I could care less who uses contraceptives but stay out of religious beliefs. If you want your employers health insurance to pay for this then don't work for any Catholic organization. How far are we going to allow bureacrats to interfer in our personal lives. Please don't tell me it is a womens health issue, go to Planned Parenthood or a clinic and you can get them for free .Take your heel off the neck of the Catholic Church and thank them for all they do for the well being of those in need.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Reply
  43. Sean

    I have to pay a co-pay on my blood pressure medication. Why should contraception–which often, though admittedly not always, is elective or has cheaper alternatives–rate getting a complete freebie? This is politics on the President's part as much as it is on the bishops'.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Reply
  44. 4real

    This reminds me of another time in history when people tried to simplify the culture of death and make it so easy for everyone to "understand". If you drop a frog in boiling water he will jump out, but if you slowly boil the water with him in the pot he will stay in and die..............Think of the way the death camps happened. First the Jews had to register. Then they had to wear a star. Then their businesses were boycotted. Then they had to pay higher taxes. Then they were taken to the ghetto. Then they were sent to 'work centers'. Then they were made to work as slaves. Then they were sent to 're-location centers' and 'transit camps'. Then they were shot and gassed. The Church must stand up against this administration of death at every opportunity.

    February 14, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Reply
  45. Fifi

    Contraception has nothing to do with religion. Some people want to make it seem like they are related. I guess they never did their research to find out that birth control is not the only use for contraception. Most women use it for Harmone regulation and other health needs.
    I don't understand how Viagra can be covered when it really doesn't have direct health benefits but contraception which does have immediate health benefits isn't. It never never stops to amaze me.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
  46. Teri

    I am a Catholic... but I am pro-choice. I strongly believe that woman should have the right to make their own decisions about the bodies and their lives. Politics have nothing to do with it. I highly agree with Obama's decision as women have the right to access contraceptives. This is about woman's health not politics.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  47. TexDoc

    I don't like being asked to pay for routine and usual expenses of people. It's health insurance. It should cover cancer, heart disease, diabetes. Contraception is like deoderant or cigarettes. You can buy them, don't ask me too.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Reply
  48. Frederick Taylor

    I have a daughter with a blood clotting deficiency. She had severe bleeding when delivering her second child. For her, another pregnancy could be life threatening, and birth control is literally a matter of life and death. PS She is a Catholic.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  49. Mark

    I find it very telling to observe where the "pro-choice" crowd actually stands for those who simply demand free choice in matters of conscience and faith.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
  50. dakota2000

    The church used to burn "witches" ,alive, at the stake.

    The KKK lynched people in the south and they where considered a hate organization. Except for the distance of time, I see little difference in the practices of these two terrorist organization, except that hanging seems less cruel than being burned alive.

    BTW: the crime of some of these witches was dispensing birth control.

    The "church" is a hate organization, dressed in robes and protected by the state. They feel they are above man's law (e.g.. they are free to rape little boys and openly discriminate against women) It is about time that the US start prosecuting these organization, take away their assets which they have gotten through manifestly fraudulent means ( a promise of a better afterlife! Give me a break! ).

    It is time for the Catholic church to be dismantled.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Reply
  51. Independent

    "We should not allow one Church to determine our actions regarding contraceptions or abortions"

    Nor should anyone be forced against their will to pay for either through taxes, insurance or other edict.

    I am pro choice, pro contraception, but **NOT** pro edict, pro central totalitarianism nor pro socialism.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  52. Scarface86

    What woman in the U.S. does not have access to contraception?

    February 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
  53. sortakinda

    While we have the Unitarian here, let's ask her about life after death, whether dogs AND cats go to heaven, and anything else she is incompetent to speak about.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  54. finally a female

    Every comment has been from a man and they fail to see why women should have access to contraception and have it covered by insurance. The argument that "the church shouldn't have to pay for it" – well, I bet it covers Viagra so that men can have have "relations" without marriage. The Catholic church needs to clean up its own pedophile priests and upper level cover up before it becomes all sanctimonious and tells us what to do with our bodies.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Reply
  55. Fletcher Framer

    Whether personally to use contraceptives is a religious/conscience issue. Whether that option should be equally available to all who want it is a social/political issue. No one is proposing forced contraception. The President's compromise skillfully removes religious leaders from involvement in both their employees choices to use contraceptives, or not, and the provision of them. If that doesn't satisfy them then their agenda is bigger than they own up to.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  56. bibelotsheep

    Who is "forced" to pay for contraception? The same people who are "forced" to pay for medication for erectile disfunction.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:38 pm | Reply
  57. Summer

    I can't fathom why this is even an issue in the 21st century. It's mind-boggling that we still have groups so buried in the past that they try to force their archaic religious beliefs on everyone. The movement that has hijacked the conservative party is truly frightening. They want women back in the days where they were barefoot and pregnant, unable to vote, and property of men. This country needs MORE access to contraception, not less.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Reply
  58. sortakinda

    The author pronounces that there is no religious conflict for the Catholic Church in all of this hoo-ha. Why DIDN'T we ask her FIRST, oh wise, woman, knower of all.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  59. killroy is back

    Women who can't afford the few bucks that it costs to get birth control pills from planned parenthood should take themselves out of the game. This is table stakes for adults females, insurance or no insurance.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
  60. sortakinda

    This Unitarian now claims to speak for Catholic women! Who said there couldn't be a woman pope?

    February 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  61. sortakinda

    A Unitarian Minister? Isn't that a non squitur? Oh, look! I just ordained myself. Now I have a license to explain everything in the world. There are obvious reasons she is not a Catholic. The Catholic Bishops have no time to respond to this lightweight who amazingly has brainwashed herself.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Reply
  62. JoeSeattle

    Did I see the words insurance and contraception used in the same sentence? What exactly are we insuring against?
    For something to be insured, I need something like a disease where a few people in a group pool their resources – effectively if the odds of getting that disease are 1 in 100 each person in the pool pays 1/100th and the premiums are then pooled to treat the unlucky bstards among them who come down with it.

    Hows that work for contraception? Since essentially every person with a credible chance of being able to get pregnant will require a payout, the only fuction of pooling resources is to make part of the group subsidize another part. That's welfare, not health care. Health care and welfare need to be separate discussions. We don't need to muddy up the discussion about how people can obtain for themselves good health care vs. how we address the indigent. Separate topics.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  63. NC

    If any person would like to use contraception, I have noticed that most convenience and drug stores offer it readily.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
  64. citizen

    What politics over contraception?
    It is about who is forced to pay for that contraception.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      it's not an issue of who's paying for it, it's an issue of who's offering it as an option.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      You a trouble-maker? We got a expert here who wants to set us all straight.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:40 pm | Reply
    • Montanan

      The cost of providing contraception saves money over paying for full term pregnancy, aborting the pregnancy, prenatal and postnatal care.. Children on an insurance plan who have diseases or birth defects are much more expensive than a prevented pregnancy as well. Then there are the costs of poor, unwanted children on the world. From welfare to schools to prisons. The fact that you haven't thought far enough to realize these issues, shows that you are only concerned with denying women the freedom to control their own reproductive decisions. Get over it. This isn't the 19th century. This isn't even the 20th century. The church needs to get out of our decisions. If this means I'll go to hell with Galileo, so be it.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Reply
    • Drifter

      Unless you are having s*x to have a baby, it is purelya recreational activity and the public should not be forced to pay for someone elses recreation. Next thing you will be asking me to pay your beer tab.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Reply
    • Jim Davis

      My reply isn't to Citizen, it is to Debra. No one can say that your article isn't well written. My concern is what you are basing your position or confidence there in on. Based on the world I see, I believe the more people that agree with your position is only a clear and unmistakable indication that it isn't God's way. Nothing personal, Debra has been drinking the same poisoned kool-aid as the rest of the secular world. I pray and hope that God will be merciful!

      February 14, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Reply
    • Republitard

      It is part of the insurance premium, so basically the individual pays for it.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Reply
    • SteveW928

      No kidding! The change that has been in the news is just 'creative' bookkeeping. The issue still remains that an organization shouldn't be forced to provide something that is against their conscience. (Frankly, I think the R.C. position on the issue is silly, but I stand for their rights on the matter.) Also, unless I'm mistaken, aren't abortion drugs included in this? The article author says no modern contraception causes miscarriages (though, some cause the embryo not to implant as far as I know), so that might just be tricky terminology. But, if it includes things like RU486, that's not contraception any longer... the conception has already happened!

      February 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Reply
    • kebo72

      Pretty sure you're already paying for treatments that you do not use (yet). This is just one more. Find me an ala carte insurance and I'll sign up.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Reply
    • sharon

      Insurance companies will pay for the contraception with the money they get from premiums.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Reply
    • Rob

      It is about politics. The white house offered a compromise that would not force the church to pay for contraception. Every woman should have a right to choose. The church is attempting to suppress women's freedom of choice.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Reply
    • DeltaBrain

      Insurance companies want to offer coverage for birth control. It saves them money. Most employers, even Catholic employers want to cover contraception for the women who work for them because most women, including 98% of Catholic women use birth control. So, we're left with the Bishops and some Republicans who want to make a big issue of it, even though Obama has said all along that there is an exception for religious organizations. So, the president said "fine, you don't believe in contraception, then you don't have to pay for it" – the insurance companies will cover it at no cost to employers. You'd think everyone would be happy but the Republican never really cared about whether American women get coverage for contraception (presumably even Republican women want that). They just wanted a wedge issue. And while they were all blustering about religious freedom, the public realized they were actually trying to deny women coverage for contrception in the year 2012!

      February 14, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Reply
    • Julnor

      Correct. So ask yourself, who should pay for YOUR contraceptives?

      February 14, 2012 at 5:59 pm | Reply
    • RillyKewl

      Nobody is forced into anything. Employers have to provide coverage for birth control. All employers.
      Its the cost of having full time employees. Nobody is forced to use contraception, or to pay for it.
      Yet if the employee chooses to use contraception, she will be covered for that.
      And lets make clear, this also must remain her own private business + none of her employer's affair.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:07 pm | Reply
    • musings

      What a false issue you bring up. I am forced to pay for heart surgery for chronic smokers. I am forced to pay when someone has a motorcycle accident. I am forced to pay for rehab for alcoholics and drug addicts. The health insurance coverage is covering people who do things I would not do and who get into difficulties with their health as a result.

      But contraception? Come on! The only objections come from people who are delusional about what the pill actually does. They imagine that it might once in awhile let a fertilized egg get away without being implanted. Well what about those frozen eggs for all the in vitro pregnancies. No one in their right mind believes all of them are going to turn into full term babies. And if we really understood how nature works, we'd probably understand that few eggs which are fertilized make it normally. They AREN'T babies, they are eggs.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Reply
    • ICarter

      Would you rather pay for inexpensive birth control or potentially higher public costs (both financial and social) associated with unplanned/unwanted pregnancies. Women are more likely to require the latter if the former is unavailable. I know you would probably like to avoid paying either, but no modern country lets you get out of paying those costs directly or indirectly. You can look to third world countries for governments that do neither.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      Stop lying.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  65. 1nd3p3nd3nt

    the religious are afraid to give people a choice. Their version of a choice is choosing between heaven and hell.
    If you don't believe in contraception, don't use it, it's that simple. If someone chooses to use it, then cover it. It's really that simple.

    they argue the reason why god doesn't appear before us and lead us to enlightenment and glory is because god wants to give us a choice, the very option they want to deny our fellow citizens.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  66. Happyfrenchman

    The GOP falls over itself to please a bunch of Bishops.... the same people who were so upset over the possibility (inane possibility) of Sharia law in the United States, falling over themselves because the government is not doing what the Bishops want.... They are unbelievable.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  67. Scott

    Two words to the author. Butt out. It's not your religion. It's not your call.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
  68. Sweat 61

    The key word in this is FREE contraceptions. No personal responsibility required.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  69. Jeff from Columbus

    Wow – this might be the most ignorant article I've seen on CNN. Way to lower the bar, Debra!

    Seriously, how did CNN allow this article to be posted on its site?

    The Obama administration is the one playing politics. People like Debra Haffner are playing politics. The Catholic Church isn't playing politics. Its simply saying – don't make us pay for something we don't believe in. Period. End of Story.

    Furthermore, why only birth control for free? Why not give women free access to pre-natal care? Or free access to services such as in-vitro fertilization or artificial insemination for women who WANT to have children?

    Why ONLY birth control? Hmmm...stop and think about that one. Its because THAT issue will get Obama the most votes.

    But, its the Catholic Church playing politics?

    Again – ignorance, plain and simple.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Reply
  70. Get Religion Out

    Contraception is a valid right and no one should have the 'Right' to take it away from someone because of religion. The Jahovah Witness and Christian Scientist examples prove this point. Religion should not be the basis of denying anyone their rights.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
  71. Barbara H

    I love to see so many men involved in the decision of female contraceptives. NOT! I don't know why they care, they do the deed and away they go. When they are required to share EQUALLY in the responsibilities associated with unplanned pregnancy I will consider their opinion valid. Until then they have no right to an opinion.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Reply
  72. Josh

    Compromise is often a great thing, but there are somethings we should never compromise. Human Rights (like the freedom of religion) is one of them. I have to side with the Catholics on this one.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
  73. Bankerlady

    This article is simultaneously the most biased, and least-informed of any I've seen on CNN. Way to lower the bar.

    February 14, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Reply
  74. ron

    This is not about access to contraception......access is blatantly there, planned parenthood, any drug store, and many other outlets...
    The issue is can you force someone else to pay for it.

    A White House compromise ? I think not.... they are just saying the religious groups don't have to pay for it, we will force someone else to pay for it. OPEN YOUR EYES.

    We have a right to LIIFE, LIBERTY and the PURSUIT of HAPPINESS. Here goes our Liberty, and some right to LIFE, but it looks like the Pursuit of Happiness is having someone else pay for everything,

    February 14, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Reply
  75. Carol

    Dumbest opinion paper ever written. I agree that contraception should not be up for political debate. No one should force someone else to pay for their choice of contraception especially if it is against their beliefs. Period. End of story. No debate necessary. You don't want the church in your business, don't get into theirs.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Reply
  76. Kerry

    Give the majority of the women what they want, insurance paid contraceptive. Take a poll and you will find that woman want this. Why should the government bow to the minority?

    February 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
  77. Kerry

    Politician bull. Give the majority of the women what they want, insurance paid contraceptive. Take a poll and you will find that woman want this. Why should the government bow to the minority?

    February 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
  78. Ben

    Interesting how worked up the RC Church and right-wing conservatives get about companies being required to provide birth control, yet they say nothing about people being required to pay for wars they are morally opposed to. No wonder the RC church membership is shrinking worldwide. Its leadership and the leaders of the GOP are both out of touch with reality.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  79. Brian

    I'm a pro choice person and do not believe the gov't has the right to tell religious organizations what they can/can't do. If this does boil down to women's rights as the administration states–then the 2nd amendment gives me the right to bear arms. I would like the gov't to pay for my guns because it is my right!!

    February 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
  80. Mark

    Great article. The author makes a compelling argument although I would not compare a blood transfusion to birth control. I think telling the catholic church that they have to pay for BC, although a good policy (i believe), oversteps the Federal Govt's authority. The current administration realized it and they backed down quickly.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  81. oddjob2234

    "The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ decision to reject the White House compromise on birth control access in health insurance is further evidence that their concern is not religious liberty, but playing politics with women’s lives. "

    This is just bull. That's all we get on this discussion, from all sides. Straight up bull.

    No column on CNN will even address the real problem here, which is that it is not within the rights or powers granted to the federal government to ORDER private individuals and businesses to buy and sell specific things to one another. It is NOT their right, and that can't be said enough. Religion has absolutely nothing to do with it. It is about the federal government butting into the affairs of others, dictating what they must buy and sell one another from Washington.

    If people want to purchase contraceptives with other peoples' money, they are free to buy a policy that lets them do that, and insurers are free to sell it to them. It is simply not the place of government, though, to demand that such a benefit be included.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  82. mlr

    Let's be REALLY clear here – it is NOT about women's ACCESS to contraception... it is about forcing people to pay for it that don't believe in it. The women can still go pay for stuff out of their own pocket... or is that just not something we do these days... pay for stuff ourselves?

    February 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  83. Truth Hurts

    How is a women supposed to have worth or value without birth control?

    February 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  84. JohnRJ08

    This is a pluralistic, secular society of laws. It is NOT any one religion's theocracy. The majority of Republicans know this. They're just trying to get their extremist base motivated in the face of these preposterous presidential candidates.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Reply
  85. Truth Hurts

    How is a women supposed to have meaning or value if she's not on birth control?

    February 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Reply
  86. Jamie

    This is why we need planned parenthood. Low cost and accessible for whomever needs it. Out of the 7 hospitals and however many health care clinics in my city of over 1 million people, only 1 is not affiliated with a religious university or organization. 1 measley hospital out of all the available clinics and hospitals. So all of the doctors and nurses and medical staff in the workforce here can only find 1 company to work for that is secular. How awful would it be for them if all of the other medical workplaces refused to provide insurance that covered contraceptives based on the religious views of their organizations? Luckily, most of them do provide health insurance that covers contraceptives, but they easily could refuse to based on religious beliefs that many of their employess do not share.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  87. Shane

    Sorry ma'm, but Catholic teaching has been this way long before this debate came on the scene, and it wasn't in attempts to victimize women, it was holding people accountable for their actions instead of enabling what they believed to be wrong. See, this was back when people actually had to answer for what they did, unlike today when people think the blame always lies somewhere else, and hold themselves unaccountable and without responsibility for their actions.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  88. lizbeth

    "Unitarian Universalist" church is to religion what a broken umbrella is on a rainy day. Sort of does the job but you can't wait to throw it away and get a better one. The author, who claims to have some understanding of religion, needs to study the Catholic church and its beliefs and then keep her mouth shut. No one is forcing anyone to work for the Catholic church so there's the freedom you seek.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
  89. Bill Deacon

    The author should resign her pastorship and take a place at the DNC. They speak your language

    February 14, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Reply
  90. Sean

    if you are an employee of a securlarist company and don't like it, go find another employer, we're not living in the 1920's where everyone works for the same company their whole life because it's too hard to find a job somewhere else.

    If you are qualified, employers are hiring all over the country. If you aren't qualified, get some more education and get qualified...don't tell me a church HAS to support your private life...I think church's should be exempt in this case (just like when the supreme court upheld that a church is exempt from firing someone because of their beliefs).

    February 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  91. GI Joe

    When the republicans get all the women "breeding just for the sake of manning their armies for war", what will they go after next?

    February 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Reply
  92. yahmez the mad

    It is stupid to even argue over religion's right to limit access to contraception at a time when the US budget is so overextended. Contraception for the poor is crucial to the war on poverty, and the Catholic Church, one of the world's wealthiest organizations, should not be interfering in government.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  93. Tom

    Its 2012 and there are how many Billions of people on the planet ? Join the 21st century or hit the bricks.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  94. NotMyJob

    The people who need to take contraceptives, don't. For those wanting the government to stay of out the way, I agree – no tax dollars for this. People can make their own decisions and pay for their own contraception.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Reply
  95. kathleen mccaffrey

    as a roman catholic i am disappointed that the bishops were not highly critical of the iranian war and the death of young americans or afghanistan or the illegal jails for some of our immigrant women and children and our overcrowded jails where are they when we need them once again they criticize women's rights they should pick another topic to discuss

    February 14, 2012 at 3:09 pm | Reply
  96. Bruce33315

    Could a hospital funded by the Catholic Church fire an employee it finds got an abortion? Yes, but then it would risk a lawsuit of unlawful termination of employment under various federal regulations and laws.
    If the hospital cannot do that, then the hospital should not be able to avoid other federal laws and regulations that mandate inclusion of contraception in health plans offered to its employees.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  97. James H. Black

    I did not find her argument convincing at all. She has an agenda (that's why this is an editorial), but she doesn't back up her position with facts.

    February 14, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Reply
  98. Stan J

    the point that is being missed in all of this discussion is the real motivation behind the Catholic church's stance. It is very simple. the moral authority of the Roman Catholic Papacy is based on the principle of Papal Infallibility. This is the long held concept that when the Pope speaks on matters of faith and morality, he cannot be wrong because he is delivering the word of God. If the Catholic church were to change its long held position on birth control, it would raise the concept that the Popes of the past could have been wrong. Since this concept is one of the primary pillars of papal authority, the catholic church will never backtrack on this or other issues. It has mired itself in its own history, trapped by opinions of past popes that cannot stand the test of modern understanding or science. This isn't about morality; its is sheer preservation of power at the expense of all those who follow the church's dictates.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Reply
  99. Bob Anthony

    Back in the '60's & '70's there was a saying that applied to the Catholic Church hierarchy that is appropriate to the current discussion about contraception and the Catholic Church: "you no play-a-da-game, you no make-a da-rules".

    February 14, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Reply
  100. William

    This is just another case of where organized religion has told the legislative arm of government to butt out if you do something that we disagree with, but to remain with us if you do something that we approve. Churches should lose their tax exempt status if they are going to mix in politics.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Reply
  101. PraiseTheLard

    Religion is nothing more than a fraud. The sooner it's abolished the sooner society will finally be able to move forward at full speed.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Reply
  102. Ken78

    Someone ought to sue this woman for false advertisement for calling herself "Reverend." She clearly has no respect for the religious liberty of others. They must all bow their knee to her personal agenda.

    Taliban . . . Debra Hafner . . . two sides of the same coin.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm | Reply
  103. Dave

    Modern Liberals (and I use the term loosely) know how to do 2 things really well.
    1- Tell you how you are different from 'that person over there'
    2- How much you should hate that person, because of the differences.

    That is how they create the 'us against them' mentality, be it in religion, immigration, foreign policy, or just helping the poor here in America. That is how they win elections.
    As long as Democrats keep buying it, they will continue to sell it.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Reply
  104. Jim

    So basically, you are all for telling the Catholic Church what to believe.

    Nice! Have you looked at the 1st Amendment lately?

    February 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Reply
  105. billgme

    The Rev. Debra Haffner is completely distorting Catholic teaching on the subject. This is a liberal article on why the Catholic church continues to stand up to abortion and contraception. How can a women of the cloth say such profoundly disturbing things like a President can mandate what insurance can do?

    February 14, 2012 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  106. Don

    Republicans are just extreme religious wackos who don't care about women's health or any common sense, they have a lot in common with the Taliban.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Reply
  107. bear

    Recently there was a Catholic Bishop that had to resign because he had two children. I would think his boss had wished he had used contraception.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Reply
  108. Thinkstr8

    The religious right wants to control anything they claim "jurisdiction" over. The other side has a choice to pursue birth control or not but they have the right. The RR is upset that you/we have the right and it upsets them. In a time of overpopulation; it would be wise to reevaluate their stance. I know...it is based on hundreds and hundreds of years of faith. That ideology came from a region that was scarcely populated and at a time there was not overcrowding. Do you think any deity would want people to populate the planet so much that people starved? Sick thinking…

    February 14, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Reply
  109. salvador ontiveros

    the presidents stance on forcing the catholic church to follow his religion will force many to abondon his party

    February 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm | Reply
  110. BostonDan

    Wouldn't it be nice if everyone, no matter what side they are on, used accurate, honest words? This is not "free" contraceptives at issue. It is a "forcing someone else to pay for your contraceptives" issue. There is no "free". It is the opposite of free, it is taking freedom of not paying for others condoms, etc away.

    This is nothing than election year pandering to the weak minded. I am sure there are enough private organizations that do and will continue to raise and give money away to those who can't or won't pay for their own contraceptives. Get the government out of reproductive issues entirely!

    February 14, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Reply
  111. Norm

    Contraception should not be covered (let alone madated) because its does not prevent or cure disease. If its prescribed because a women requires hormone therapy then that's one thing. Otherwise, add this to just a very long list of things folks expect other people to pay for so they can live our lives the way they want.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Reply
  112. Jimbo

    Have the church foot the bill for taking care of the poor if they have no interest in providing a tool for family planning.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Reply
  113. DanB

    No doubt the Reverend Haffner would also support forcing a consciencious objector to register for the draft and go to war, if necessary. I wonder, also, how she doesn't see that by forcing the Catholic Church to deny its teachings, it is SHE and her co-religionists (if one may accurately refer to Unitarianism as a religion) who are politicizing the issue and, at the same time, forcing THEIR "religion" on everyone else. It's a First Amendment issue – period.
    As a non-Catholic, she maintains that the bishops do not speak for the Catholic community. Sorry, my dear, I'm afraid they do, whether or not you want to accept that. But her observation does beg the question – Does she think she speaks for all women?

    February 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  114. James

    What a good article! Very few catholics, like me, can fault the reasoning. The bishops and priests should look at their dwindling congregations and wonder why earth on earth there are so few children ....contraception duh!!! Let us have a serious discourse on this isuue and accept reality.Rome's position on this matter is actually endangering the lives of women and men all over the world, particularly in the poorest countries.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Reply
  115. William Demuth

    Steve

    This is an issue pursuant to interstate commerce. It (insurance) can be regulated any way the government deems appropriate.

    Once the church got out of religion and into healthcare it became subject to the same authorities as the other players.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Reply
  116. Kathy

    Where do you draw the line on contraception? Why should only women be covered? Isn't it against the law for the government to treat one individual differently than another? If we cover women's contraception shouldn't we also be covering vasectomies? Should condoms be free? What will prevent women from abusing this system and selling the pills they receive on the black market? Forcing employers and insurance companies to purchase contraception for women is irrational. It will only open the door to more regulation and litigation in the not too distant future.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Reply
  117. Gene Cole

    The headline is correct: President Obama should stop playing politics with this issue and keep the federal government out of the insurance business. Agree or disagree with the Roman Catholic Church, they can decide what they should and should not fund.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Reply
  118. ken

    Obama may soon be dictating who should have an abortion. Things are getting scary in Washington. There could be an American Spring calling for the ouster of the tyrant. His support of our open borders is allowing massive amounts of drugs to enter the US where US drug gangs destroy the inner city schools AND THE KIDS! Why haven't the Democrats cracked down on the drug trade? Because California stars – Democrat money machine supporters – need their mind altering drugs! Poor kids are dying because of people like Whitney Houston! She just as well could have shot the gun that killed the Chicago kid this week, last week, and every week. Obama never lifted a finger to help the poor in Chicago overcome the drug gangs!

    February 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm | Reply
  119. BillR1130

    The author is simply dead wrong. I do not agree with the Catholic Church's position on birth control. I'm an agnostic tending toward atheism, and I've used contraception of one type or another my whole adult life. Nonetheless, I respect Catholicism's right to hold the position it does on the issue, and to not be expected to subsidize what it considers to be wrongful behavior. What next? Are we going to mandate that the Catholic Church finance abortions for its employees as well, when it considers them tantamount to murder? Because if you say that the government can impose a contraception mandate, there is no logical argument against it having the right to impose a similar rule on forcing coverage for abortions. This IS a First Amendment issue.

    February 14, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  120. Chad

    The issue is not contraception at all. The issue is the government mandating rules on religious organizations. Every liberal should remember the wall of separation that Thomas Jefferson wrote about. The wall intentionally keeps both at bay.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Reply
  121. Elena

    As person with free will, if a religion dictates or advocates something I don't believe in, I don't have to believe or even belong to that religion. So, if a person thinks they should be able to take birthcontrol (in whatever form), then I guess they can find a church that better fits their beliefs. It is not up to the government to tell a religion what they can or can't have as their core values. Period. No matter what that religion is. It is also not the place of the government to negate the belief system of ANY religion. Bullying is bullying, no matter what spin you put on it.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  122. MarylandBill

    Just a few question for the good Rev.

    1. Since when are compromises made by fiat? (i.e., The Catholic Bishops were not consulted at all).

    2. If the insurance companies are paying for the Birth Control, then where are they getting the money to pay for it? (Hint, from everyone who pays into insurance, including Churches and other religious organizations).

    3. Why is it that whenever a commentator supports a particular position, that anyone who opposes that position is playing politics with the issue?

    February 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply
  123. Mike Hayes

    Over the years, the supreme court has ruled against claims of exceptions to legal requirements of general applicability on the grounds of violation of religious beliefs, including for Native Americans, Mormons, and Amish persons. If the court would now reach a different decision for catholics, that might stir up some sense of unfairness by persons who are not catholic.

    Examples can be found at:

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/historics/USSC_CR_0494_0872_ZO.html
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=1104642225155375579&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr
    http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=15551538265464303476&hl=en&as_sdt=2&as_vis=1&oi=scholarr

    For example, at the last link, Chief Justice Burger writes:

    "...Congress and the courts have been sensitive to the needs flowing from the Free Exercise Clause, but every person cannot be shielded from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs. When followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity. Granting an exemption from social security taxes to an employer operates to impose the employer's religious faith on the employees. Congress drew a line in § 1402(g), exempting the self-employed Amish but not all persons working for an Amish employer. The tax imposed on employers to support the social security system must be uniformly applicable to all, except as Congress provides explicitly otherwise.[12]...".

    I think the second sentence is relevant to the issue of Catholic hospitals.

    The first opinion was written by Justice Scalia, in 1990.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Reply
  124. WWRRD

    OK. censored twice here, no idea why.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  125. Sunny

    No one is trying to outlaw contraception! The "pill" has been around for decades and is not going away. The Left is simply trying to divert attention away from Obama's embarrasing failure to force the Catholic Church to act against it's beliefs. This country is over if, as it seems, people believe the idea of "free"! This is pandering to a new level. Costs will be passed along to the consumer one way or the other for this "free" contraception.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  126. WWRRD

    The author is correct in her ideal that contraception not be politicized. She is wrong in her assesment that the church is somehow ant-woman. The church is wrestling with the larger issue of Papal Infallibility. To reverse course on this issue invlidates a major principle upon which the church is built.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Reply
  127. Badua

    These catholic Bishops are all men. How can they speak for us. Most of the news guys are all men catholics too. Guys things have changed. There are more women than you men. You can't control us anymore. Our body is our body. You just have fun and we habor them in our body for good 9 months. We decide!!!!. Besides we should not allow one church to dictate for us. They should concentrate more on how they can control themselves from staying away from chasing young men.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  128. Julnor

    "playing politics with women’s lives" You must be joking. How is free birth control playing with women's lives. No one is saying you can't have them, you just have to pay for them just like any other medication. Remember, it's only been a couple months since Obama came up with the crazy idea to force insurance companies to provide this free of charge. What, was the world anti-women then and this fixed everything? This is a total over-reach of govt power.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Reply
  129. Heath

    The article states that a false argument is used by stating that some birth control (i.e., morning after pills) work by cause abortion. Some one please educate me because I genuinely don't know. I thought at least one aspect of morning after pills is they work by prevent fertiziled egg from attaching to uterus? I realize this is subjective, but this seems to be a gray area between contraception and abortion depending on your definition. It seems the authors inference that it is purely contraception and not abortion is no less misleading than directly stating that it is an outright abortion and not simply contraception.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:46 pm | Reply
  130. Tony

    The president should not have such power. Imagine the power in the hands of a "conservative" president. Employers must provide free bibles to workers. Insurance companies are forbidden to provide birth control at all. Etc.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Reply
  131. WWRRD

    The author doesn't understand Catholics. The Catholic Bishops are being good foot soldiers for the Pope. The Pope cannot risk reversing the church's position on contraception because to do so would completely invalidate the concept of Papal Infallibility upon which the entire church hierarchy is built.

    The Pope sees the church itself as being at risk. If they claimed infallibility, and then decided that they were wrong. What happens to the Pope's role as the spiritual head of the church. In 1968 the Humane Vitae was issued by Pope Paul VI. This essentially ended the arguement. Although a high level commission voted to reverse the chrurch's position, Pope Paul VI ignored the commission "protecting" the Papacy from the threat that would have been caused by admitting that the principle of Papal infallibility was wrong.

    This is not a personal attack on woman by the church or by the Bishops. It is another poorly planned attempt by the church to protect itself. Probably second only to it's ill fated attempt to protect itself from the child abuse scandals.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  132. socalpimp

    Whats next? Contraception at the post office? Contraception at the School Nurses office?

    February 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Reply
  133. Pig in a Poke

    How right you are for once Erin. Government and Politicians need to get out of our personal lives.
    Contreception is in no way Political and in no way Health Care. If you want to use it, it is your personal decision, you know where and how to obtain it, and oh yeah, you should have to pay for it too. .

    February 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  134. Tony

    There's a difference between ACCESS to something and getting it FREE. Everyone can get birth control. But no one person or group of persons should be forced to pay for it. By the same logic, you could force insurance companies to provide free bibles in order to "increase access".

    February 14, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Reply
  135. Carrot Cake Man

    I bet Steve would be in SUPPORT of a "president" Santorum telling insurance companies they MAY NOT cover contraceptives. Isn't that how right-wingers operate? Government can do WHATEVER they want but NOTHING of what the MAJORITY of Americans want.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Reply
  136. bfpiercelk

    This issue become political the instant the Federal Government decided to get into mandating/regulating health insurance.

    There's a reason you don't centralize everything under the sun liberals, and this is why. Now we get to spend the next decades watching politicians bicker about the details when they should be doing their jobs. Thanks guys....

    February 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  137. mark

    So who do I send the bill to for my vasectomy? If the insurance has to provide FREE birth control for women who will pay for the premiums? The employer? Seems like not much of a tweak on this and I fail to see any compromise. Not to mention the separation of church and state where are the atheists on this one? Why not just give all the men a vasectomy after they give a sperm sample to be kept frozen and when Obama and the dem's want you to have a baby they can AI the women. Then they don't need birth control pills. Myself and most other people I know have to buy their own med's, why not the women?

    February 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  138. Steve

    This honestly seems so disturbing to me. If having contraceptive coverage is so important to someone, then simply do not seek employment from someone that doesn't cover it.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  139. cnnsucks

    What is the matter with cnn...

    February 14, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  140. Punctus

    Look, the Catholic church stopped burning women as witches. What more do you want?

    February 14, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Reply
  141. Han

    I like the author's interpretation of "life is sacred" by arguing that women should be given a choice to terminate a pregnancy that is not sacred (such as that from a rape). It's funny how religious groups think contraception is a 100% bad thing. Have they thought about what if rapists are possessed by demons and Catholic women are forced to have Satan's child when raped without a means for contraception?

    February 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  142. the_dude

    Let's face it 90% of the people using this program will be teens and ghetto-residents. I consider it a positive for both, prevent teen pregnancy and to keep the number of welfare recipients to a more manageable number.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Reply
  143. Macon Smith

    Interesting that Rev. Haffner is an expert on Catholic Doctrine and Teaching.
    Every time there is a "religious issue" Rev. Haffner is trotted out to give a "religious viewpoint".
    This is a First Amendment issue pure and simple- the right for a Religion to determine what is moral within its traditions. The "accomodation" by the White House to the Catholic Church is not an accomodation at all because the instutions involved will pay the premiums!
    Contraception is available to all especially those with financial hardship as our taxes pay for it!
    The real goal of the "Affordable Health Care Act" is to push this country to National Health Care = ruining Health Care in this Great Country as evidenced by all the countries who have gone this way!

    MS

    February 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Reply
  144. Drew

    Plain and simple, the minority should not rule the majority. As a CATHOLIC, I'm embarrassed to witness this continual and divisive wedge that the far religious right continue to drive between progress and common sense. I'm tired of the rhetoric and preaching of how this requirement forces religious groups to support to support unconscionable policies, which to me is them broadcasting their fear of inevitable change. If these sects members and supporters were so deeply opposed to the concept of birth control, they shouldn't fear that legitimate access to it will upend their philosophy.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  145. Contraception for All Who Want It

    Sorry, but most Bible-belt Christian Republicans are crying over this whole contraceptive thing because they hate Obama, not because they support Catholics or religious freedom. I can't tell you how many times I have been to a regular "Christian" church and hear them talk about how Catholics worship false gods because they pray to Mary and the Saints. I have heard preachers talk about how they left the Catholic church because they felt it wasn't right. And don't give me that religious freedom b.s. argument either. Most non-Catholic Christians use birth control and don't have any problem with others using it. And the Catholic church should be ashamed of itself going to these impoverished countries and saying, "Don't use birth control, whatever you do, even if your entire family is starving." All these so-called religious leaders should be ashamed!

    February 14, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Reply
  146. Julie NC

    it's a good thing this is an opinion as it is based soley on fantasy, speculation and bad assumptions. Maintaining the religious precepts of a church or churches has nothing to do with denying anyone anything. No one said in this whole arguement that women cannot make a choice to have anything, "the church" does not want to pay for it.. and frankly the insurance companies paying for it is not a compromise, it's a slap in the face to religious freedom and to all taxpayers as well as it shifts the burden for payment to, well, pretty much everyone. Pay for your own stuff if your insurance does not pay for it (no matter what it is). The problem is that everyone is held up on it being contraceptives. my insurance does not cover accupuncture but I think it's an essential item, lots of people do, but the general public is not forced to pay for to further the Progressive (not democrat/not liberal but PROGRESSIVE) agenda.. this is crap.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  147. Matt

    So now people expressing their views and beliefs are playing politics? Wouldn't then this article be playing politics since you are expressing your view that women should have others pay for their contraceptive.

    I am all for birth control but expecting others to have to pay for women to get on the contraceptive is ridiculous. Your decisions should be on you to make and to pay for. I don't expect my insurance company to go paying for my condoms or vasectomy, so why should only women get the choice to have somebody pay for their birth control while men get nothing?

    February 14, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Reply
  148. Tony NYC

    the bishops are a bunch of hypocrits they did not make this much noise when their priest were taking advantage of little boys.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  149. MashaSobaka

    All of the people saying that women can easily pay for contraception themselves irritate the heck out of me. Have you ever tried to pay for birth control out of pocket? No? Didn't think so.

    Religion is not permitted to screw around with people's health just because God (or a collection of priests – God doesn't mention anything about birth control) tells them that it's okay. Not in this country, anyhow.

    Wonderful article.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  150. Steve

    This is all silly. This is not a First Amendment issue. It is an Article Three issue. The President simply does not have the right to force insurance companies to do anything. End of story.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • Han

      The government has every right to do what is best for the people of United States.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Reply
    • Tony

      Exactly.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Reply
    • Ben

      End of opinion. FIXED

      February 14, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Reply
    • Julnor

      Absolutely spot on!

      February 14, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Reply
    • JECD

      Then insurance companies can just do whatever they want? Like not cover anything and keep your premiums? Almost all insurance covers birth control already. It benefits their bottom line. It's much cheaper than prenatal care, childbirth and baby care. Same goes for the poor. Pay for birth control or support their offspring.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm | Reply
    • Heath

      Well, and the other problem with this article is the assumption that a ethical or moral system can exist completely independently of some type of belief system. This is a false assumption as beliefs, whether in nature they are secular, religious or other, serve as the underlying fabric of ethics and morality. To state that only one type of ideas, in this case secular, have a place in dialogue is a form of closed-mindedness that is unfortunately hidden from the view of the author.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:55 pm | Reply
    • brick177

      This is not an Article III issue. The requirement that all employer covered health insurance include coverage for contraceptives was part of the healthcare reform passed by congress. Congress has the power to regulate businesses engaged in or whose activity affects interstate commerce. The insurance business is an activity that affects interstate commerce. Therefore, the law is valid and not an Article III issue.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:07 pm | Reply
      • brick177

        I should probably clarify that I know the Executive is Art II and the Judiciary is Art III, which you may or may not have confused. Either way, this is not an Art III issue.

        February 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Reply
    • maggie

      Ever heard of laws?

      February 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
    • Loren

      Ask the Supreme Court. It is of the opinion that the U.S. Federal Government rules over almost every aspect of life in the United States, and that includes insurance, as evidenced by its support of the so-called Health Care Reform Act, or better, offer a bone to health care providers to obtain centrallized control over health care services act. Bigger is not better, centralized control tends to remove options. Remember that when you vote.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Reply
    • larvadog

      Did you mean an Article II issue? Some might claim it is an Article I, Section 8 issue – Commerce Clause. But I agree with you that the president doesn't have the power to do anything of the sort.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • dave

      Its not the end of story, steve...but sucks to know your one of those guys that believes he can control the end of debate...your a neive soul sir, without the government intervention into insurance rules, insurance companies would rip off the american people left and right..how pathetic of you to post a opinion without the facts...most companies would rip off and do major disservice to the public without the government laws...

      February 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Reply
    • marv

      Isn't there an amendmnet that says thou shelt not discriminate or is that one of the Cammandments?

      February 14, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Reply
    • Lynn

      If they want to do business in the U.S. he can. I'm so sick of the Catholics trying to run women's lives. In their opinion they can wash and iron their vestments, make the coffee after mass and then go home and let the men run the country and church. Think again, not in the 21st Century.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Reply
    • NewsWoman

      Except that you are absolutely wrong. The states and the federal government have the power to make sure employers provide medical coverage for all kinds of medical issues. I suspect that you would speak right up if your heart attack was not covered by your employer simply because it was cheaper not to cover it.

      Bottom line: If we leave the coverage up to the employers, they will cut out every single item that they can in an effort to make money. That's why we need states and governments to speak up for our rights.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Reply
    • Kat

      The President isn't forcing anyone to do anything, it's part of a bill that's been passed by Congress *facepalm*

      February 14, 2012 at 3:04 pm | Reply
    • David

      Hurrah!

      February 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm | Reply
    • midwstrngrl

      i agree your right to prozac or viagra should be denied.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Reply
    • midwstrngrl

      i agree. your right to pro zac or vi agra should be denied.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Reply
    • howard F

      How come insurance companies are still required to pay for your treatments such as cancer, diabete, heart operations ? You want to use the 1st admendment to free the insurers from those obligation as well, along with contracepts?

      February 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Reply
    • kdorian

      Have you been paying any attention to this debate at all?

      The question is whether organizations with religious affiliations (NOT religious groups themselves) that provide medical insurance to their employees will be required to provide insurance that covers birth control. Such coverage is readily available; no one is 'forcing' insurance companies to provide it – it's already available.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Reply
    • The guy who thinks you are stupid

      Unless, of course, what we are talking about is a function delegated to the executive branch as an administrative matter under legislation passed by congress and signed into law. Geez, did you fail thrid grade civics or what?

      February 14, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Reply
    • Noah

      I just read article 3 and I'm confused as to where you are getting your information.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • oddjob2234

      Absolutely correct. It's refreshing to see at least one person that understands the real issue.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Reply
    • Carolyn

      The Catholic Church, better known as the world's largest pedophile organization, does not have the right to deny contraception to American women through its "religious" organizations. If it persists, it should be stripped of its designation as a church. Third Article? It is a basic human right that women control their reproductive capacity. Period. If men refuse to grant American women this basic human right, then we should immediately implement mandatory vasectomies on all American men, so that they are forbidden to plant a seed until a woman gives them permission to.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Reply
    • sameeker

      That is why we need full, national health care.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Reply
      • Houseplanman

        If we should have full government health care, wouldn't it make sense to have the government buy everyone houses? What about food? Cars? Where do you draw the line?

        February 14, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Reply
      • Scarface86

        So you're saying we need national healthcare, so the President can force his beliefs on us?

        February 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Reply
      • duke5343

        YES Sameeker and WHO is going to pay for it? THe 49% who pay NO taxes or the Rich, businesses, corp, workign class while 26% who live on UNcle SAMS Plantation leech off those who work

        February 14, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Reply
      • RickV

        So that going to the doctor will be a cross between going to the Post Office and a trip to the DMV. Thanks but, no thanks. There is nothing on the Federal resume that suggests that they can actually do this.

        February 14, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Reply
      • rob

        Great, then the Govt will determine what healthcare and how much healthcare we are allowed based on a huge bureaucracy made up of "Experts".

        No thanks.

        February 14, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Reply
      • djusmc7229

        Get a job and get your own insurance.

        February 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm | Reply
      • Jenny

        Right on!

        February 14, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Reply
      • mscout99

        Why? So it's a lot easier to get a condom or a birth control pill, but you have to wait weeks and weeks for an MRI and have cancer drugs denied at the hands of a government bureaucrat?

        February 14, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Reply
      • Tony

        Sure, just make it optional.

        February 15, 2012 at 9:27 am | Reply
    • BioHzrd420

      I'm sorry but Article 3 says nothing of the sort. And it's not telling insurance companies what to do. It's telling religiously-affiliated organizations (not churches, but hospitals run by churches) that they should give women affordable access to contraceptives.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:09 pm | Reply
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      yup, the government can take our money, taxes.
      the government can take our children and have them commit violence in the name of the country, the draft.
      the government can tell us which side of the road to drive on, can tell us we need to be clothed in public, can even mandate we educate our children.

      ..but heaven forbid they require insurance companies to offer contraception if the person paying for it wants to use it.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Reply
    • sortakinda

      Steve how did you get here? You could NOT have passed the loony test.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Reply
    • kebo72

      Please explain how this is an Article III issue? All the GOP conservatives since the contraception debate began have stated it is clearly a 1st Amendment issue. Of which it clearly isn't. Now, you say it's an Article III issue? That is even less impacted than the 1st Amendment.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Reply
    • lgny

      Nonsense! Government has set the standards for insurance coverage for many decades.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Reply
    • KBS

      Forced? You think they're being forced? Insurance companies are for-profit organizations. Therefore, paying for contraceptive coverage is probably the most frugal thing they can do. Contraception is cheaper than babies. Most women in the U.S. express the desire to limit the number of babies they have. Therefore, providing contraceptive coverage saves individuals, businesses, and insurance companies money WHILE ALSO providing the side benefit of reducing the number of abortions (since it has been proven time and again that access to contraception is the only reliable way to lower the abortion rate.)
      Some facts: Comprehensive contraceptive coverage is relatively inexpensive. The average total cost (including administrative costs) of adding coverage for all reversible methods of contraception is $25.31 per employee, per year. The added cost to employers of providing contraception coverage (assuming 20% employee cost sharing) is $1.69 per employee, per month (all figures from 1998, adjusted to year 2005 dollars using the NASA Inflation Calculator). In 2004, the private-sector cost of preventive medicine evaluation and management averaged $107 per session; approximately 95% of paid claims fell within the range of $45 to $165 per session. Treatment costs of an unintended pregnancy include the cost of termination ($428) or the cost of prenatal, delivery, and postpartum care and the ongoing cost of care for the infant. The cost of labor and delivery alone ranges from $7,340 to $41,610 (figures in year 2003, 2005, 2001 dollars, respectively). The cost of prenatal care and ongoing infant/child care varies substantially, but it can be assumed to be significant if the child remains a beneficiary until 18 to 25 years of age. Researchers estimate that over a 5-year period, employers can save $9,000 to $14,000 (in year 1993 dollars) by providing comprehensive contraceptive coverage. Experts suggest that employers may begin to see some savings in the first year of coverage.
      Source and citations:

      February 14, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Reply
    • hn1999

      On the contrary, government can require insurance companies to cover or cannot deny certain coverage. Example is they can't deny coverage base on pre existing. Other requirements also include paying taxes or follow laws and regulations.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Reply
    • RillyKewl

      Where in Article three does it say that?

      February 14, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Reply
    • Charles McCormack

      Your narrow-minded side lost the last Presidential election, and it's going to lose the next one. Get over it!

      February 14, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Reply
  151. Matt Rowe

    "More than 20 denominations have policies affirming birth control, passed as early as 1959. More than 4000 religious leaders have endorsed the Religious Declaration, including a faith-based commitment to voluntary contraception."

    Let them provide it then....why should the Catholic Church if it does not agree?

    February 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
  152. sandz

    This is about control. Not religion. The majority of Catholics have been flouting church teachings on this issue for decades. Even going so far as to criticize and ask for changes within their church. Church leaders can't stand the idea that their authority is being undermined. And by the way, birth control is not just a woman's issue.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  153. Steve

    Okay so lets require a muslim charity or a mosk to provide payments for pork roast for anyone of their employees that wants one. Why is it not okay to say under god in school but then you make a church pay for contraception? Where are all the separation of church and state cry babies now? Liberal Lunacy, it Makes NO sense! But then again isn't that the definition of Liberal?

    February 14, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
  154. llancem

    I guess though if we keep telling insurance companies what they must and must not offer we might as well have national health care.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
  155. Matt Rowe

    it is simply not true that modern contraceptives do not cause abortions. Life begins at conception when the egg is fertilized. If it is prevented from implantation in the uterus after conception (which is what the IUD and morning after pill do) a unique human being is lost. Simple as that. These pro-abortion advocates get all upset talking about women's rights, but they'll be the first to holler when someone says that a woman should view the development of her baby via sonogram prior to making her decision on abortion, or that she should be informed about the post abortion guilt and longer term physical consequences to her body after an abortion.

    February 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm | Reply
    • Matt Rowe

      I would like to add that my arguments are secular and based upon scientific truth. If you are going to debate this....at least debate facts.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  156. chris hogan

    By pressing contraception, Obama has revealed an inconvenient fact of some religious organizations: They use the misery of unwed pregnancies, AIDS, and broken homes to demonize LGBT folks and subjugate women, while OPPOSING efforts to reduce it (birth control, marriage equality). This allows them to control people and raise more money to "help" society. What a racket!

    February 14, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Reply
  157. asdf

    Not sure what the Catholic church is up in arms about. Its not like you can get young boys pregnant.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Reply
  158. Midwesterner

    this topic does not belong to politicians!
    EVERY insurance carrier should be covering for contraceptives just like any other prescription!
    Religion has nothing to do with this topic!
    Show me a Catholic who does not use contraceptives, and I will show you their grave fromj 500 years ago!

    February 14, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Reply
  159. Hugh Jass

    But don't you agree that because Eve sold all our souls to a talking snake, all women must suffer? Seems totally logical to me; you can't trust those apple-stealin' varmints.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Reply
  160. Sue

    When churches start fighting tooth and nail to deny coverage for Viagra, maybe they will look less like hypocrites.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Reply
  161. Sean

    One of the worst articles I have ever read on CNN. Rev. Debra Haffner comes across as an extreme feminist by excusing the Catholic Church of supressing women. Rev. Debra is misleading in her stats when she says "As of today, twenty-nine major national mainstream religious leaders have endorsed a statement supporting the White House decision". These twenty-nine major national mainstream religious leaders are NOT members of the Catholic Church. Futhermore, the Roman Catholic Bishops DO speak for Catholics world-wide and have every right to defend the Church against this unjust mandate.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
  162. Chuck

    Mr. Kimball declares, "Finally a Secularist essay."

    I hope that the author, Rev. Debra Haffner, is appropriately horrified to hear her work described that way.

    The issues at hand are necessarily religious issues and it is disappointing to hear a supposidly-religious author argue that they should not be discussed from a religious point of view.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Reply
    • Bob123

      Keep your religion out of my bedroom and my wifes pants.

      Ain't none of your business, bub.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:48 pm | Reply
    • Steve Arnett

      I can't imagine why Rev. Haffner would be horrified at the "Secularist" tag.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Reply
    • Grant

      Well then, keep it a religious issue and stay out of government. Very simple. Nobody is forcing this upon your houses of worship, only on the profitable side of their...ummm...faith. Go cry a river in a country that forces their religion on its citizens. Unfortunately for you, this is America and we value the voice of the people more than the voice of preachers.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Reply
    • Kyle

      Why not do some research before posting an article?

      1. Contraception does two things. First it attempts to stop ovulation. Second, it hardens the lining of the uterus so that an embryo cannot implant itself if ovulation does occur. This would be the death of a days old human. This is known to happen but the frequency is not known.

      2. Emergency Contraception is an extra dose of regular contraception to harden the uterine lining so that the embryo cannot implant a few days after conception. It is in fact not contraception at all, but an abortificant that kills an early stage human by not allowing it to implant itself in the uterus.

      Whether these early human lives have value is the debate, not whether early stage humans are killed by contraception. Do your homework.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:45 pm | Reply
    • MarylandBill

      Would a Unitarian Universalist even care if they were called a secularist?

      February 14, 2012 at 1:58 pm | Reply
    • Howard

      When you determine that a woman's rights are a "religious issue" that's pretty much a vote against their rights as a person.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Reply
    • JJC

      I do not believe the author suggested that these issues should not be discussed from a religious point of view as much as the author was pointing out that most religions do not have a problem with this and that the bishops are playing politics to try and regulate laws. This is not about religious freedom as much as it is about a religious minority trying to blankmail politicians to get their narrow views enforced.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Reply
    • blessings

      Maybe the point to consider it that everything is up for political discussion, and the author has her point, which is summarized in the fact that Catholic Bishops are trying to have the government "undo" their lack of persuasive theological views. And, it is a fact that "Free Will" is at play, whether the Bishops want to admit it or not.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Reply
    • Lorynx

      Discuss them all you want, write a book about it, deliver a sermon to your congregation – but don't bring it to the political arena. I don't believe that Rev. Haffner is stating that there shouldn't be a discussion about the topic. What she is arguing is that the discussion is being falsely labeled. This is not a conversation about religious freedom, this is an attack on women's rights.

      If we (Americans) were to have a discussion about religious freedom, we would bring up a couple of different scenarios of how theocratic this issue has become.

      Let's look at these hypothetical (and non-hypothetical) examples of "religious freedom";

      1) Mormon hospital decides to not admit a child of an ex-mormon (who has become a Catholic) due to religious beliefs. The child dies and no one is at fault. This discrimination happens with grocery stores, gas stations, colleges, and restaurants. Why can't they take this further and include a hospital to the list? It's their "religious freedom"?

      2) An Islamic hospital denies care for a brutally raped woman because she was attacked without her male escort. She dies from wounds. No one is at fault, because it was their "religious freedom" to deny her medical care.

      3) Christian parents decide to "pray-away" a deadly disease on their newborn. The don't succeed and the child dies because they don't believe in modern medicine. It's their "religious freedom" to not go to an emergency room. Guess what, this happens ALL the time and the parents are at fault. Socially, we agree that the parents were cruel and that their religious beliefs unjustly caused the death of their newborn child.

      This isn't about persecuting the Catholic church – this is about forcing Catholic morals onto others via politics.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm | Reply
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      ..because a religious point of view is subjective?

      February 14, 2012 at 4:33 pm | Reply
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      a religious point of view is subjective

      February 14, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Reply
  163. InVT

    Modern Conservatives (and I use the term loosely) know how to do 2 things really well.
    1- Tell you how you are different from 'that person over there'
    2- How much you should hate that person, because of the differences.

    That is how they create the 'us against them' mentality, be it in religion, immigration, foreign policy, or just helping the poor here in America. That is how they win elections.
    As long as Republicans keep buying it, they will continue to sell it.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Reply
    • Richard

      I hate to tell you. But this is totally on both sides. Each side thinks the other is worse. But they are not. I just read a leftist blog 10 minutes ago that was nothing but name calling. The only way to avoid this is to be a true moderate. But true moderates kinda suck because they don't stand for anything.

      People will always have different beliefs. We need to respect them. On both sides. But no one does.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Reply
    • InVTAlso

      Glad to see you are so "tolerant" as well. Look in the mirror once and a while...

      February 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
    • Kajal

      Agree! Very true

      February 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • Brandon in Texas

      InVT, how can you say that when our President and the Democratic party publicly and actively divides us into warring classes such as "rich vs poor," "Wall Street vs Main Street," "labor vs management," "secular vs religious," "white vs non-white," "green vs anti-environment," "tolerant vs bigoted," "pro-immigrant vs xenophobic," etc etc etc ad infinitum? Modern liberals (and I use the term loosely) are the champions of exploited people's differences for political gain.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Reply
      • Brandon in Texas

        "exploiting"

        February 14, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Reply
    • Howard

      "Modern Conservatives" are two words that do not go together well.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Reply
    • Norm

      What garbage. Its not the GOP running around demonizing "Big Oil", "Big Corporations","Wall St fat cats, or the "1%". Its liberals, not conservatives, who spread hate and turn Americans against each other. They're also really good at telling you what you can eat (no trans fats), drink (no extra large sodas), smoke (but weed's ok), and where (not in the open or in your house or car if children are there). According to liberals (and I use the term loosely) the only thing that I'm am guaranteed to be able to do to my own body is have an abortion.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Reply
    • Linda

      Your statement shows a great deal of wisdom, on what seems to be an inflammatory concept for some!

      February 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Reply
    • BostonDan

      I don't think you get it. It is not over not helping the poor or not allowing contraceptives. It is a belief that you or anyone else should not be able to force people to "help" others or force them to pay for others stuff. In addition to weekly volunteering to help people needing a home,I and other "conservatives" who you villify, donate to charities that I choose and research.

      If "conservative" is the label you wish to put on me for wanting the freedom to choose who, when and how I help, so be it. But, recognize that your approach actually takes freedoms away from people and creates, eventually, a government dicatorship. Be honest with yourself and admit it.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Reply
    • setnommarih

      Are you sure you are talking about conservatives because you did an excellent job of describing Obama

      February 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      InVT just did two things:
      1. Tell you how you're different form conservatives
      2. Tell you why you should hate conservatives

      By doing this, InVT just created an "us against them" mentality. And as long as people keep buying it, InVT will continue to sell it.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Reply
    • Tim

      Really, kind of like "rich people should pay their fair share"? Who's dividing people in this country? There isn't one day that this president isn't on TV denigrating Republicans, whether it be House Republicans or Senate Republicans. I haven't seen a conservative "tell you how different you are" Please provide examples. If anything, they are the party putting forth the idea of a flat tax where everyone is taxed equally. And no conservative I see promotes any "hate". What you see as hate I see as a philosophical difference in opinion. And it always seems that democrats turn differences in opinion into "hate speech" or "bigotry" or "stupid red neck speak". Keep your uninformed opinion to yourself.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Reply
    • MarkA

      Sorry to say, but you just don't get it. First off, you have it backwards. Replace your word Conservative with Liberal. Oh...that's right you don't have to state your opinion, the biased media does it for you. This whole argument really doesn't have the coverage in the proper direction. Ok....let's say I think cigarettes should be covered in the medical insurance. That would be just me and as president, I forced that decision on all, because I thought it should be there. Stupid yes, but it's the same thing. If you looked at health insurance coveage now....guess what? Birthcontrol pills are covered. Why should condoms or the morning after pill. Please don't use the shallow argument, people can't afford them. Guess what? Keep it in your pants, and cross your legs!!!!

      February 14, 2012 at 3:57 pm | Reply
    • seebofubar

      Your post is so stupid that it doesn't even deserve a reply so..........

      February 14, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Reply
    • Steve

      Ha, what a joke. Of course 'conservatives' (translated: Republicans) do that. 'Liberals' (translated: Democrats) do it too. Just because one group hates people who are poor and one hates those who are rich makes no difference at all. Get off your high horse.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Reply
      • stta

        Steve- Your comment: "Just because one group hates people who are poor and one hates those who are rich makes no difference at all" is scary and hoping was just a flippant remark to make a point. If you really feel that way, and it looks like your a conservative, I hope your not a Christian if you hate anyone.

        February 14, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Reply
      • Matthew

        +1. Completely agree. I do think that the wealthy should contribute a higher percentage of their profits (net income) than those who are poor. I don't necessarily think they should support doing this though, as it's not in their self interest, and I believe even more strongly that we all of the individual rights to our own personal life, liberty and the pursuit of property and happiness.

        IIf Republicans can get more than 50% of the vote lobbying and adverstising then they deserve to lower taxes on themselves, because they won. If anything, they have a harder time getting to 50% because votes are based on hearbeats, not dollars. There are simply more non-wealthy than wealthy. So if they can get enough people who aren't wealthy to support pro-wealthy policy: Hey, tip of the hat, that's democracy.

        For me and my wife, it's a big ego hit to admit that despite making a couple of hundred thousand dollars a year we aren't in the top 1%, and that we're most likely not going to be. So even though I, like a lot of people, like to think of myself at that elite tier, I'm not, and I have to vote my self interest.

        Still, Steve's point is solid. Why do we have to vilify people for doing what's best for them? Those making more than 5MM should vote for the GOP and if they don't, they are not voting for their own interests. The same is true of those making less than 5MM. But it doesn't make them evil, or bad people. And both sides are equally guilty of that vitriol.

        February 14, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Reply
      • Sockeyerama

        Thanks for the heads-up on InVT. What a joke who needs to get off of his high horse. He's not nice and smart like you and me who really like rich people while he probably really hates rich people. You've pointed out how very different he is from you an me and I just can't help but hate him now. I'll tell others how different he is and that they can hate him too if they're smart and truthful and fair and balanced like us.

        February 14, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Reply
      • RillyKewl

        That's where you're wrong. Liberals don't hate the rich at all. We hate the criminally liable rich. We hate the gambling, scheming, hustlers who crashed our economy.

        We hate the ones who profited by conning people into ballooning mortgages they didn't understand + promising them they were getting some kind of fabulous deal. The ones who picked out the worst of those + packaged them into CDOs, sold these to suckers + then bet against them in the market.

        Also we hate celibate men telling us whether we can use contraception or not.

        February 14, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Reply
    • phelonius_munk

      well said

      February 14, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Reply
    • Scott

      Isn't that exactly what you are doing? Why can't you see that when you write things like this?

      February 14, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • phelonius_munk

      well stated InVT. @Steve, it is completely ridiculous to try and compare liberals (or Democrats) that propose an increase of taxes for super rich to the hateful and hate filled rants that conservatives levy against liberals. liberals attack policies that have enabled the rich to become continually more wealthy at the expense of the middle class and the health of the national economy. conservatives attack liberals as being socialist or communist, lazy, and refusing to work. totally not the same thing.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Reply
    • Scarface86

      Seriously, liberals or progressives thrive on telling people they are different. What do you think Black History Month, Women's History Month and all of the rest are all about? For liberals and progressives, tolerance only works one way – their way.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Reply
    • duke5343

      @InVT
      Conservatives want what Un-educated Liberals want-the DIFFERNEC is we KNOW it wont work- equality- socialism commies- a system of Lazy living off the working & tax paying

      February 14, 2012 at 4:49 pm | Reply
    • Rae Ann Pointer

      "Modern Conservatrives" donate a higher percentage of their incomes to charity than any other demographic. Look it up.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm | Reply
    • Sockeyerama

      Steve here says you're different from us as you are a" joke" and "on a high horse". These are metaphors but I kind of sense he would like me to dislike you a lot.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply
    • rob

      Care to give some examples of this claim? I don't think you can but there are plenty of examples of Liberals dividing Americans into opposing groups for political gain...blacks against whites, rich against poor, women against men etc etc etc. The Dems always smear their opponents by accusing them of tactics that they themselves use. With the help of their friends in the media they get away with this again and again.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Reply
    • ajk68

      I think a lot of liberals hate Republicans – but that's o.k. for some reason.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Reply
    • djusmc7229

      Hate us all you want. We're still the ones paying for your welfare check.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Reply
    • musings

      What I see in modern "conservatives" is a cynical marriage of red state white supremacists and people who would stir up religious zealotry to demonize the more rational elements of society.

      We can always use moderation, but those voices are getting drowned out by this insanity.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Reply
    • mscout99

      Yes....see "occupy wall street" for an example on how liberals are NOT trying to divide the country into classes for the purpose of stirring up hate. Or see how "civil rights leaders" like Sharpton and Jackson DON'T try to put minorities against white people for the purpose of stirring up hate.

      Something tells me you don't have very many friends.........

      February 14, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Reply
  164. Kay

    HE made it politics when he tried to step on my 1st Amendments rights. YOU are distorting facts. WE are not stopping anyone from obtaining birth control. WE will not pay. YOU do not have the right to force me to violate MY conscience. YOUR opinion and distortion of the facts does not change MY THEOLOGY. YOU have no right to tell me what my religious beliefs are or that it is of no concern to ME. YOU are not a practicing Catholic; it is not for YOU to say. I am a full-American FEMALE citizen, educated and not ashamed of my body. The Bishops WILL speak up about our truth or they will answer to ME.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Reply
  165. Chuck

    The headline reads: "Opinion: No politics over contraception."

    Ok. What else shall we declare off-limits to political discussion?

    Just because this author doesn't want there to be a political discussion of some topic does not mean that she can just arbitrarily and unilaterally declare it off-limits.... unless, of course, she's willing to extend the same authority to me.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Reply
    • informed human

      Disussion is one thing but denying anyones right to not have children is not a discussion but repression and the instigation of someone elses religious beliefs on everyone else. Where in the Bible does it specifally say that contraception is a sin? For that matter, where does it say that priests should be celibate (that was a Catholic Popes decision) or that women cannot be religious leaders? No religion has a right to tell anyone what to do unles that individual agrees with that particular religions tenets. Bottom line, the government is not telling individuals that they must use contraception only that they must have equal access.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Reply
    • blah blah blah

      Chuck you are missing the point here. She is saying that what we do with our bodies in the privacy of our home is our business and so is our right to concieve when we choose. If you believe government should stay out of our business then you agree with this statement. By telling them these organizations must provide contraception, must not be confused with telling the employee's they HAVE to use contraception. The president is leaving that up to choice and staying out of our business. By NOT offering the choice these religious organizations are forcing some women to become pregnant or be celebate. That is the same as having a government/corporation tell us how to live our lives and what to do with our money. Do you get it now?

      February 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Reply
    • Kajal

      I think it is fair that things that are a matter of fundamental goodness to most people should not be politicized. Isn't that against most religions anyways, that preach kindness, patience and generosity?

      February 14, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Reply
    • MashaSobaka

      Maybe you should actually read the article and then come back with a response.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Reply
    • Howard

      Let it be known that Chuck's opinion of women is that we SHOULD paly politics with their rghts.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Reply
    • brick177

      It is an opinion and you do have that power extended to you, it is called your own opinion.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Reply
    • jn0224

      Come on, this makes too much sense...

      February 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Reply
    • Mike

      Chuck – how can the point be so totally lost on you? Contraception is not an acceptable political football because one person's use of it affects no other person. You are not the least bit affected by your neighbor's use of contraception and that is why you (and your religion) ought to have zero to do with it. If YOU don't approve of contraception then YOU can decide not to use it. Stay out of other people's personal lives.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Reply
    • NewsWoman

      Why should politics decide health care decisions for women?

      February 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Reply
    • David

      Why can't she-the President and HHS think that they have the right to unilaterallyy require you to support something that YOU do not believe in-why can she?-

      February 14, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
    • 1nd3p3nd3nt

      she's not saying it's not political. She's saying the issue isn't with the politics of contraception, as this has been covered and been address by many walks of faith already.

      the issue is purely one of cultural war, the religious right trying to drum up a boogey man to be afraid of and rally the religious base for the election this year. Just look at W Bush's second election, and how Karl Rove energized the evangelical base to drive him to election victory.

      the only problem is, there is no boogey man at the moment and they are desperate enough to try to paint religiously affiliated organizations to offer contraception as part of their health insurance plans as an outrage.

      which again, the author points out, in a quite logical way, is a bogus strategy.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Reply
    • bff

      She forgot the famous quote "Everything is political"

      February 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Reply
  166. Terry

    Don't you just love it when a group of men want to tell women what their rights are, and are not. I believe that women understand their health and human rights needs far better than a bunch of Catholic Priests. National statistics show that over 90% of Catholic Women use contraception. I guess the good old boys club missed on this one.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Reply
  167. Bob

    It's a shame that the author, who is obviously a member of the religious community can be so obtuse. Forcing the Catholics to provide contraception is a clear affront to their religious beliefs, it has nothing to do with politics. I can't say the same for Rev. Haffner.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:30 pm | Reply
  168. Joe - Wilmington, DE

    Once again, Catholic Church "leadership" has its collective head stuck in the middle ages. And remember, child molesters are people too!

    February 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  169. MARK99ER

    RIGHT ON THE MONEY!!!! Damn rpubes are antagonizing this situation and trying to create a wedge issue. This is not about religion, not about politics, it's about womens rights!!!

    February 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  170. Jmercuri

    I don't understand why the Catholic Church feels the need to attempt to control private decisions. Freedom of religion is not forcing other people down a path they do not want to go. Providing health benefits is similar to providing a salary, is the church checking who every penny of employee salaries are spent? Neither should they check on health benefits. It is a private matter.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Reply
  171. Rick LeSage

    This is the most ridiculous argument I've ever read. Her implication is that religious freedom should be limited to what the majority of religions believe. If most of the "mainstream" religions believe that insurance (paid for by the church) should cover contraception then the Catholics need to conform???? What kind of freedom of religion is that?

    February 14, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Reply
  172. nolimits3333

    American women will remember who stood up for them this Novmber.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  173. John

    Lots of catholics, both men and women, will be joing the rest of us in hades. They're all having fun in the sack without fear of the consequence. The consequence they're not fearing isn't the one about dancing with the devil.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Reply
  174. Brad

    Wow Reverend....you really don't get it, do you? Perhaps you have spent too much time in Rev. Wright's church pews.....

    February 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply
  175. John C

    Thankfully this will only contribure to the slow death of the Catholic Church. More people wake up everyday and someday these cults will be seen for the shams of money and power that they really are. We are better off without them.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:16 pm | Reply
  176. Michelle

    You only need to read the first sentence to realize this is no minister.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  177. Cherries

    Every woman should have easy access to birth control, nevermind about income or religion. BC is an absolute good.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  178. joanne

    This guy lied!! He did try to interrupt. Why doesn't the news show pictures of aborted babies EVERYDAY, the way they show other horrible acts of violence?

    February 14, 2012 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  179. David Kimball

    I love this article. This is succinct, objective, and applies this logic to all religions. Finally a Secularist essay. Secularism doesn't try to get rid of relibions, it just says that people are free to believe what they want, but they cannot force their beliefs in a way that it affects the actions of society. Government determines the actions, churches determine beliefs. Just like we as a society do not allow the sacrifice of goats and chickens, nor polygamy, we should not allow one Church to determine our actions regarding contraceptions or abortions.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Reply
    • Gary177

      How can this government edict be anything except forcing their beliefs on others. That is exactly what this policy does. Not only does it force others to do something that they believe to be immoral, but IT DOESN'T HAVE TO HAPPEN. There are many ways to get contraception without forcing others to betray their most core beliefs, and then belittle them for their beliefs. This article does not even acknowledge the depth of these beliefs. It justifies forcing others by saying that some people don't think it is wrong. Instead of equal rights, it is OUR opinion regardless of your religion.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Reply
    • Andrea Jones

      David I love this article too. It raises the concerns I have over the religious freedom argument and how erroneous it is to use by the Cathoic Clergy.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Reply
    • MIchael

      The author wants to impose her religious view – that "Jewish Christian perspective" (her words) endorses contraception – on a group that does not hold to that view. She attempts to show that some members of the religious group agree with her, and thinks that allows a complete trampling on the 1st Amendment. I am a non-Catholic Canadian, but I have long thought that your separation of church and state was a good thing. Your current President thinks the church must stay out of the state, but the state is omnipotent against the church.

      February 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Reply
    • Tony

      But here the gov't is forcing their beliefs on contraception onto insurance companies.

      February 14, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Reply
    • Loren

      The difficult point that you fail to recognize is when those beliefs conflict not with action but with government mandated action. When a person is faced with a choice to work for a religious organization that does not believe in making available contraception under its insurance policies, the person can accept the position or reject it. There is no compunction on the individual to make that choice. While it constrains his options, to go the other way and force the larger group of people who believe that to be wrong is a larger injustice. The government, should it choose, can take it upon itself to offer these services to those who desire, but to force upon those who don't is tyranny. It is not the church that is forcing its opinions on us unblievers, but us unbelievers forcing our opinions onto the church.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
    • clease

      Not to be rude but you can sacrifice chickens in Florida if u practice voodoo. Religious exemption.

      February 14, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Reply
    • Mary

      I agree. A church, whatever its beliefs may be, has no right to tell any woman that she should not have access to necessary medical procedures or medication. They can preach about it until the cows come home, but it isn't their decision to make.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Reply
    • Cyndie King

      Agreed. I've long thought that laws need to stop being based on the dogma of the religious group currently making the most noise. As far as this issue goes I believe its just Catholic leaders trying to control the behaviors of their women-folk with the thinking being along the lones of 'If we don't offer contraception then they can't go behind our backs and use it.' UGH.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Reply
    • Bill Deacon

      Agreed. No one should be allowed to dictate our contracepti0on choices. It is not a matter that the government should force upon the Church. Get it?

      February 14, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Reply
    • J.C.

      "Just like we as a society do not allow the sacrifice of goats and chickens"

      We don't? What law abolishes such practices?

      February 14, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Reply
    • Erica S.

      Actually, goats and chickens CAN be sacrificed legally in America. But disregarding that, I do agree that universities and hospitals owned by the RCC should not be restricting the rights of non-catholic women at all. They knowingly hire women who are not catholic... they do not expect those women to follow church law on ANYTHING else. They cannot pick and choose like they do today, and yes, BC is expensive.

      Mirena costs 800 dollars or so for 5 years of protection from unwanted pregnancy. The pill costs anywhere from 160$ (for the cheapest least effective pill) to $600 a year. That's a YEAR. And for those in the lower middle class to poor ranges, that may be money that they have a hard time getting.

      February 14, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Reply
    • Dixie Independent voter

      David, you have it exactly right.

      February 14, 2012 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • Scarface86

      I totally agree that people should be free to believe what they want, but why do I have to pay for it? Where is my choice in the matter?

      February 14, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Reply
    • Ed - Spring, TX

      The Catholics aren't saying anything about anyone's actions regarding contraception. It's just saying that Catholics should have to pay for practices that are against their religion. Everyone else can do whatever they want.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:01 pm | Reply
    • H

      Nor should we impose our will against a minority whose religious beliefs we disagree with.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Reply
    • CIB

      Yes this is a good article. Faith based organizations can affilate with anything but that doesn't turn the hospital, school, or doctor's office into a real church. It is still a business and subject to the same restrictions that all businesses are under. If the new government regulations distort the mission of the business it is entirely within the churches right to sell the business and move on since now the business's mission has been forced to change. One of the reasons you don't see many Cathoic affilated abortion clinics is that the two missions don't agree with each other. Fundamentally objecting to this is the same as the private issue of say... not wanting to have your picture taken for a driver's license or a passport because removing your veil is against your religion. There is no rule that says every person has a right to a driver's license or a passport. There are rules for obtaining things that we all must follow and if a person or a church can't follow these rules then they are more limited in what they can do, it is the price of living in a regulated society.

      February 14, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Reply
    • RillyKewl

      I'm with you. Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's.

      February 14, 2012 at 6:26 pm | Reply
  180. ABO

    Debra's opinion shows one thing. She has not understanding whatsoever about the concept of "self insurance" which is used by many large employers. In effect, a self insured employer will be paying for all medical costs in the end.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
  181. Gary177

    The author does a good job describing HER religious beliefs and the beliefs of some others on this issue. How does that justify forcing others to do something against their conscience. Would you force someone to kill another person? Is it any better to say that any time you hire an employee we will kill someone for you so that you don't feel responsible? Don't you realize that there are those that truly believe that artificially curtailing the creation of life is like unto murder? What are you thinking? I am sorry, but you can't justify forcing others to commit an act they truly believe is at that level of evil just because you and others believe differently. That is bigotry at its worst.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Reply
  182. Dave

    Your opinion is just that Rev. Haffner, an opinion....everybody has one. I don't agree here. There should be religious liberty with this issue.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm | Reply
  183. Worf

    You, Debra, are a bigot. Your concern is not religious liberty, but rather a need to express your hatred of the Catholic Church.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  184. Ken

    The non-religious question is why should insurance cover contraception.
    Contraceptive methods are widely available and inexpensive. The problem
    seems to be that many would prefer to spend money on cellphones and
    other consumer goods. The very poor are covered by public health
    plans such as medicaid.. Availability of contraception should not be
    confused with people's choices to spend money in other ways.

    February 14, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Reply
  185. djh

    It's not about contraception and you know it. That is what Obama and you liberal media people are trying to make it but it's really about Religious Freedoms in this country.

    February 14, 2012 at 9:16 am | Reply

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