News Contraception

Who’s Zoomin’ Who? Moving on From “Religious Freedom” Diversion, USCCB Wants to Exempt All Employers From Birth Control Mandate

Jodi Jacobson

Religious freedom? Who's zoomin' who? As I noted in a piece published last night and now confirmed by further comments from representatives of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the far right uterine police are aiming to exclude everyone from contraceptive coverage, not just religious institutions.

See all our coverage of the 2012 Contraceptive Mandate here.

As I noted in a piece on the contraceptive mandate published last night, the real goal of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is not to exempt just religious institutions from the contraceptive mandate, but to eliminate such coverage completely. For everyone.

On the Diane Rehms Show on Wednesday, February 8th, for example, Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State noted that:

“David Stevens… the CEO of a group called the Christian Medical Association… [b]elieves that one of the problems with this rule now is that it should be expanded not just to Catholic hospitals or other big institutions, but that individual employers should be allowed to say, no coverage of contraceptions for their individual employees.”

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And now, Anthony Picarillo, general counsel of the USCCB confirms that this is indeed the goal.  USA Today reports that a compromise is “no consolation to Catholic leaders.”

The White House is “all talk, no action” on moving toward compromise, said Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “There has been a lot of talk in the last couple days about compromise, but it sounds to us like a way to turn down the heat, to placate people without doing anything in particular,” Picarello said. “We’re not going to do anything until this is fixed.”

That means removing the provision from the health care law altogether, he said, not simply changing it for Catholic employers and their insurers. He cited the problem that would create for “good Catholic business people who can’t in good conscience cooperate with this.”

“If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I’d be covered by the mandate,” Picarello said.

Which of course is what they want. To remove it for everyone.

I’m waiting to see what the members of the Bishops’ Boys Club, i.e. E.J. Dionne, David Brooks, Morning Joe, and other men who can’t stop making the case against women whenever the USCCB beckons, will say about this one regarding “religious freedom.”

Can we discuss health care, public health, and women’s rights now, boys?

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