BALTIMORE (WJZ)– Contraception controversy. A showdown between the White House and the Catholic Church is heating up over the president’s mandate to make birth control free.
Andrea Fujii has reaction to the controversial rule.
Churches would be exempt from that rule but religious schools, charities and hospitals wouldn’t. And that’s got Catholic leaders fighting back.
A battle over birth control. The Catholic Church is firing back at the White House calling the president’s plan to require church-affiliated organizations to provide contraception coverage to employees an attack on religious freedom.
Maryland Republican Congressman Andy Harris tells WJZ he hopes the White House backtracks.
“The indication from the White House over the last few days was that the president is digging in on this. I hope that’s not true,” Harris said.
Supporters say the rule is not about religion; it’s about wellness.
“This is an issue of women’s health and I think Catholic charities believe very deeply that women get the health care they need,” Kathleen Kennedy Townsend of the nonprofit Catholic Democrats said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 99 percent of sexually-active women use birth control, including 98 percent of Catholic women.
Baltimore Cardinal Edwin O’Brien threatens to drop health coverage for 3,500 diocese employees saying, “We cannot, we will not, comply with the unjust law.”
WJZ talked to parishioners at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen, where there seemed to be a divide.
“I don’t think it’s right. I don’t think anyone should tell anyone else that they can’t do something. It’s a free country,” Christine Collins said.
“When I grew up, as a child I learned something– a term called reverence for life,” another parishioner said.
Many are now hoping for a compromise as the battle brews.
Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden indicated the White House may also be looking for a compromise on the rule.
Also on Thursday, worldwide Catholic broadcasting network EWTN filed a lawsuit against the White House over the policy.