Friday, February 10, 2012

An "Accommodation" to Conscience... But How Much?

First up this Friday morning: amid a unanimous outcry from the US bishops -- joined by an unusually broad spectrum of Catholic opinion -- over last month's Obama administration move to mandate contraceptive coverage in benefit plans provided by church-affiliated entities, ABC News is reporting that a White House "accommodation" on the contentious policy is set to be announced later today:
The move, based on state models, will almost certainly not satisfy bishops and other religious leaders since it will preserve the goal of women employees having their birth control fully covered by health insurance.

Sources say it will be respectful of religious beliefs but will not back off from that goal, which many religious leaders oppose since birth control is in violation of their religious beliefs.

White House officials have discussed the state law in Hawaii, where religious groups are allowed to opt out of coverage that includes birth control, as long as employees are given information whether such coverage can be obtained. But this accommodation would not go that far.

This announcement would not go that far. Sources say it will involve health insurance companies helping to provide the coverage, since it’s actually cheaper for these companies to offer the coverage than to not do so, because of unwanted pregnancies and resulting complications.
Meanwhile, continuing his push for a broader conscience exemption as the de facto lead voice against the Federal move, the USCCB president, Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan of New York, took up the issue on yesterday's CBS morning show:

More as it emerges.