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Bishops Reject Latest Proposal on Controversial Contraception Mandate
Date:2/8/2013

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Feb. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Revised rules on birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act have been rejected by the group that represents Roman Catholic bishops across the United States.

The group issued a statement Thursday that said the Obama administration's attempt to respect the concerns of religious groups does not provide enough protection to Catholic hospitals, schools and charities if they object to providing such coverage for their employees, The New York Times reported.

"The administration's proposal maintains its inaccurate distinction among religious ministries," Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in the statement. "It appears to offer second-class status to our first-class institutions in Catholic health care, Catholic education and Catholic charities. The Department of Health and Human Services offers what it calls an 'accommodation,' rather than accepting the fact that these ministries are integral to our church and worthy of the same exemption as our Catholic churches."

Although Dolan said the bishops would continue to fight the federal mandate in court, he added that the bishops want to continue to work with the administration to find a feasible compromise.

"Because the stakes are so high, we will not cease from our effort to assure that health care for all does not mean freedom for few," Dolan said in the statement.

The administration told the Times on Thursday that the group's reaction was not unexpected.

The revised rules, first proposed last Friday, would allow religious organizations that object to providing birth control coverage to hand that responsibility off to a third party.

Numerous groups have already challenged the so-called "contraception mandate" in court on the grounds that it violates their religious beliefs. U.S. hea
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