Baltimore Catholic Leaders Outraged Over Mandated Birth Control Coverage Plans

BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Catholic leaders are outraged. New federal health care mandates say religious organizations must include birth control coverage in their health plans. But the leader of Baltimore Catholics says that will never happen.

Mary Bubala has the story.

The Catholic Church says the mandate violates its First Amendment right to religious freedom.

Under the Affordable Care Act, companies must cover contraceptives and that includes faith-based organizations.

In a letter to parishioners across Baltimore, Cardinal Designate Edwin O’Brien says, “We cannot, we will not comply with this unjust law.”

“This isn’t something we can compromise on because it’s fundamental to our teachings, and we have to be consistent. We are talking not just about contraception, it’s about drugs that induce abortion,” said Archdiocese spokesperson Sean Caine.

Caine says despite strong wording in O’Brien’s letter stating, “We Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences or to drop health coverage for our employees,” the Archdiocese has an obligation to provide some kind of health insurance.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has about 3,500 employees that would be affected by this, including school teachers and people who work at nonprofits.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore could fight the new law by filing a lawsuit. But for now, area churchgoers are reacting to the controversy.

“People should be given the freedom to choose as to what they want to do,” said one.

“I am not agreeing with it at all,” said another.

The birth control mandate is not in effect yet. It starts in August. But both sides believe there will be a compromise from the Obama administration in the coming months.

More from Mary Bubala
  • the real Bernard Mc K.

    The Catholic church ought to get over itself & get with the 21st century thinking. Half of all Catholics use birth control of some kind & the rigid conservative stand that the Vatican has taken by a bunch of old Italian men only club is about to change. Women have been abused by the church & treated terribly. Jesus even made Mary Magdalene a close confident. Women for priets or at least Decons to start.

  • anthrogirl

    I’m with you “real”. I’m a catholic woman and this is just another slap in the face by the males who dominate the church. I have 2 daughters and with anti-women decisions like these (and not letting women hold particular postions), I’m having a hard time encouraging them to be pro catholic. Why would I want my daughters to worship a God who wants them treated like second class followers? I have great faith in Jesus and I beleive that he is both God and man. I believe that he exists in the consecrated host. And I beleive he died for our sins. But I don’t believe he’s a chauvinist. pig. Tthe Catholic Church denies women equality and fairness for selfish reasons that are purely human and not of God.

  • Jeff

    I don’t think people understand what this mandate is. No one is forcing you to use birth control. It’s your freedom to use it or not use it. All this mandate is saying is that birth control should be covered by your employer if YOU choose to use it, which means you have to get it prescribed and get it from a pharmacy just like everyone else. No one is shoving those little pills down your throat or giving them to you. It’s your choice. The Catholic Church is a religious organization, but they are also an employer.

  • anthrogirl

    You’re right. I could buy birth control on my own. But they’re pretty expensive and many women working for religious organizations don’t get paid very much. According to a Guttmacher, 99% of all sexually active women in the US between 15 & 45 have used contraception at least once. 98% of Catholic women in the US have used contraception. And I’m pretty sure most husbands supported it. Catholics will not stop using contraception no matter what the men in robes say. I hope that the gov’t stops all funding for catholic schools like books, lunch subsidies and special education services. Also, eliminate the church’s tax exemption status. If they want to be outside the realm of gov’t control, than go solo. If they want the gov’t handouts (taxes paid by more non-catholics than by catholics) they have to play by the rules.

  • crazy!

    Reason # 264,098 why I left the Catholic Church.

  • Florida Lady

    The sad thing is the church will drop health benefits for its employees. The president of AVA MARIA university in Florida said as much in an interview on Monday. So those employed by the church get ready to lose your benefits.

  • the real Bernard Mc K.

    First off, no employer in the U.S. should be offering health insurance period. That was something that started during the war when money was tight & employees were given low cost health insurance vs a pay raise. Fast forward to today & if people had to buy their own health insurance they would think twice before writing a check & we all would have a single payer plan such as Medicare. Sweden, & most of europe have similar & they are the best. Ask anyone who has medicare.

  • Wheres common sense when you need it

    It is nice to see the real feelings of the Church come out. They will put the health of EVERYONE at risk by not providing health insurance to their workers instead of allowing those who have the coverage to make the “right” decision. Look at it ths way, if the Church is correct and its members don’t think that birth control is right, then even though the plan is offered, nobody in the plan would use it! This would mean that noo money is ever used for the purpose. But, instead, I hope the Church cancels all health care coverage and when the people who work for them get sick and can’t afford the care they need, they can all go and pray for them. Yup, thats going to work!

  • Bunky

    The Catholic Church, the one that’s been shipping perverts and pedophiles to unsuspecting communities and avoiding prosecution of such has the gall to impose it’s “morality” on it’s workers. Preposterous!

  • slb828

    “This isn’t something we can compromise on because it’s fundamental to our teachings, and we have to be consistent. We are talking not just about contraception, it’s about drugs that induce abortion,” said Archdiocese spokesperson Sean Caine.

    Most birth control pills DO NOT induce abortion. They prevent it by inhibiting the ovaries from releasing an egg. Nothing irritates me more than people who open their mouth when they know nothing about what they speak. Mr. Caine needs a basic sex ed class.

  • nikki D.

    All of those old Dago men only hanging out in their Gucci robes @ the Vatican don’t have to have, raise, feed & educate kids. These are church’s law not God’s so get it straight fellas.

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