The Chicago Tribune reports:
The Obama administration announced it would give Catholic hospitals and other religiously affiliated institutions an extra year to comply with a new rule requiring employers to provide free birth control in their health plans.
But the administration held fast to the underlying rule, despite vigorous objections from Catholic bishops and other officials who argued they shouldn’t be forced to provide services that go against their religious beliefs.
The requirement to provide free contraceptives doesn’t apply to churches, synagogues and other places of worship. It does affect universities and healthcare facilities with religious affiliations.
There are good arguments on both sides. To wit: If you don't like the rule, don't take the federal money. Or, no one, no religious institution should be forced to do something contrary to their religious beliefs. (The relevant part of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof... ") Emphasis added.
And there's this: If you want free stuff, just go to Planned Parenthood, which doesn't do so badly feeding at the federal trough either. I could see a reason for this rule if Catholic hospitals were the only place you could get free condoms, etc. The truth of this rule is: It is an attempt by the Obama administration, whose politics is sustained by pro-choice PACs, to force their view on those disgusting Catholics and other pro-lifers. Nothing more.
Notice, however, that the Catholic hospitals have until after the election to conform with the rules. Catholics are a large block of Democratic voters, and can't afford to upset them, can we, by a blatantly political attack on their health care facilities.
But who should be surprised? Even though there are plenty of agencies that provide adoptions for gay couples, the same rigid ideologues on the left successfully demanded the same conformance from Catholic Charities because they hued to their faith.