KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Catholic Church Launches Campaign Against Obama Birth Control Rule

News outlets covered the ongoing controversy about contraception coverage rules issued by HHS last month.

National Journal: Gingrich Says Obama 'Declared War on the Catholic Church'
Newt Gingrich sought to make inroads among religious voters Sunday, accusing President Obama of having "basically declared war on the Catholic Church." Gingrich, who converted to Catholicism himself in 2009 (his third wife, Callista, sings in a Catholic choir), was speaking about the Obama administration decision this week to require church-affiliated employers to cover birth control drugs in their health plans, regardless of religious beliefs (Goldmacher, 2/5).

ABC News: Gingrich Blasts Obama’s Birth Control Policy As ‘Outrageous Assault’ On Religion
Gingrich’s comments come after a week of outrage from the Catholic Church and his fellow GOP presidential candidates over the policy ... "This is a tremendous infringement of religious liberty," Newt Gingrich said on NBC’s "Meet the Press" ” (Bingham, 2/5).

The Hill: Gov. O’Malley: 'Too Much Hyperventilating' Over Birth Control Order
Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) pushed back against conservative criticism of new White House rules which would require religious organizations to provide insurance coverage for birth control, calling the attacks "too much hyperventilating." "This is not about abortion,” said O’Malley during an interview on CNN’s State of the Union Sunday. "It’s about covering contraception as part of the healthcare coverage, mandatory basic coverage" (Mali, 2/5).

Los Angeles Times: Catholics Plan Counterattack On New Contraception Coverage
The Catholic Church reacted strongly Friday to a White House defense of new rules that will force many religious employers to provide contraception to their workers in government-mandated health insurance plans. "The White House information about this is a combination of misleading and wrong," said Anthony Picarello, general counsel of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. He said the bishops would "pursue every legal mandate available to them to bring an end to this mandate. That means legislation, litigation and public advocacy. All options are on the table" (Landsberg, 2/4). 

Reuters: Catholics Urged To Write Congress On Birth Control Rule
At Immaculate Conception Catholic church in the Philadelphia suburb of Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, Monsignor David E. Diamond read the congregation a letter on Sunday from Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput parishioners to contact members of Congress. "Write them, call them, visit them - and help them understand the deep resistance of Pennsylvania Catholics to this dangerous ruling," the letter said. ... The White House defended the policy, saying that only institutions such as hospitals that service a large non-Catholic community would have to offer free birth control. The administration also said the availability of birth control would reduce the number of abortions (McCune, 2/5).


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