San Francisco Archbishop Joins In Fight Against Obama Birth Control Policy

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The Roman Catholic Archbishop of San Francisco is joining the campaign to overturn a new federal rule that requires religious hospitals, schools and charities to cover the cost of birth control for their employees.

It’s a white-hot political issue right now, but the Obama administration is looking for a way to cool things down.

San Francisco Archbishop George Niederauer has written what he calls a “letter to the faithful,” which will be given out at all Masses this weekend. In it, he calls the new federal policy “radical” and “insidious.”

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Niederauer told KCBS it’s not fair for the government to rule that religiously affiliated hospitals and schools, but not churches themselves, must include contraception coverage in their employees’ health insurance plans.

“Because we hire non-Catholics as well as Catholics, because we serve non-Catholics as well as Catholics, we’re being told that we’re really not a religious institution that can follow the teachings of its faith,” said Niederauer. “For us, it’s not about birth control, it’s about religious freedom.”

California Senator Barbara Boxer points out that church-affiliated hospitals and schools get federal funding and tax benefits.

“We want to make sure that the religious freedom of all Americans is protected, and that means for women who work for institutions which serve the general public,” said Boxer.

There’s talk in Washington of finding a middle path, to end the political controversy.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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