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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (37)
  1. PILATUSOGEL says:

    I’m Roman Catholic and I respectfully disagree with the Church. Time we move forward.

    1. Peter B. Towle says:

      Our world’s standards may change;however God’s standards remain the same viz. Malachi 3:6 from God’s Word The Holy Bible.

      1. Michael Aschoff says:

        And you wonder why religion is a problem …

      2. Minas Unidas says:

        You are right there, religion and your god are too inflexible for change.

  2. Jean-Marie says:

    @Pilatusogel-Its not a matter whether you agree with the Church’s longstanding teaching on birth control. What is at stake is the government forcing people to violate their conscience. How can we move forward as a country when the State violates its own founding principles–namely the freedom of religion. The Obama policy shake us all to the core.

    1. PILATUSVOGEL says:

      I don’t see it that way, I live my faith but I have my serious doubts about how so very defensive we get whenever we try to tackle this issue. Let’s not throw everything and the kitchen sink and end up burning precious bridges.
      The administration’s timing is mindboggling, an unforced error at best in sportsmanship speak. Let’s pray they navigate out of it.

  3. JaneQPublic says:

    It’s about the right to integrity of one’s OWN body and the right to get health care on a even playing field.

    How dare ANY entity DICTATE what health care a person should get under the dis-guise of ‘religious freedom’.! Time for the ‘church’ to get itself OUT of women’s vaginas!

    1. LeeB says:

      You are sooo right! The Catholic churched tries to insist birth control is wrong,,,,,in an over-populated world. What they are yelling about now is not religious freedom but trying to force their beliefs on others.

      1. Michael Aschoff says:

        Look what they’re doing in the Philippines … it’s irresponsible.

    2. Ryan says:

      Noone is trying to dictate what health care a person should get. They’re just saying that they don’t want to be forced by the government to spend their money on things that they object to. This is the equivalent of me using the government to force you to donate money to the romney campaign.

  4. JaneQPublic says:

    PS The United States is NOT a theocracy – yet. If access to health care should be made based upon what the ‘church’ DICTATES, we may as well be living under SHARIA LAW. Think about it….

  5. eight ball in the side pocket says:

    all of the commenters Suffer from Liberal Illness that has griped the world.Women can hold a dime between there knees or just say no. Men can put on a condom. The government shouldn’t be paying for or regulating the choice to conceive How Dare the Government to step in and tell a business they have to issue free condoms and Birth control to its staff. Should this be part of OSHA and other protective gear? All of you need treatment at the governments expense.

    1. Boingo says:

      Last I checked, the “Government” is us (see Constitution, first three words). Open access to birth control is something that the majority of Americans want, and that all health insurance companies should provide. We need to move beyond this arcane 16th century morality that these fossilized bishops and popes still preach.

      1. LeeB says:

        Youre being generous saying the 16th century. I would have gone farther back. Too many people believe what the fossils preach This garbage of having baby after baby is archaic. In centuries past so many babies and children died so young having more made sense. Now it’s just ridiculous. The Catholic chuch needs to come into the 21st century.

  6. Guapi says:

    Yes, oh great MADAM Senator Boxer (who worked so hard for your title), everyone should bow down to you and the Federal Government when you support their good works with Federal Funds and tax breaks. They should kiss the ground you walk on to. How dare they have religious freedom when everyone else’s freedoms are being reduced by the Obama administration and liberal power brokers across the country!

    1. Peter B. Towle says:

      Well said!

    2. LeeB says:

      Why is it when you don’t agree with someone then that person is a liberal?
      Get your head out of your butt

      1. Guapi says:

        Only because liberals are destroying our country at every opportunity.
        Why is that you get vulgar when you disagree with someone?

  7. Peter B. Towle says:

    Obama and his Marxist hinchmen must NOT be allowed to make us Christians (Catholic and otherwise)violate our religious conscience by this mandate that Obama has crafted and once shows him attempting to rule Our(not his) country by “fiat”.

    1. Boingo says:

      The only person who can violate your conscience is YOU. If you don’t want birth control, then just don’t use it. But don’t deny that basic health care right to other people who happen to be employed by the church.

      1. Ryan says:

        Just because the church health care plan doesnt cover birth control doesn’t mean that basic health care rights are being denied.

      2. LeeB says:

        Basic health care SHOULD INCLUDE birth control. No one is forcing anyone to use it. It should be covered for those, a great many, who want it.

    2. LeeB says:

      You have absolutely no idea just what Marxism really is. When lived under Marxist rule for a while then you can compare.

    3. Minas Unidas says:

      “In December 2000, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruled that companies that provided prescription drugs to their employees but didn’t provide birth control were in violation of Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination on the basis of sex.”

      This is still in effect today, right through the Bush years, yet suddenly it’s an Obama mandate. What, pray tell, has been your position on birth control for the past 12 years?

  8. montana mike says:

    Catholic Church is a scam.They think they are above the rules

    1. wmp says:

      The 1st amendment says no law enacted to afringe free exercise. No person who says they have a right say to birth control from a Catholic institution is the one who is not following the rules

  9. Ryan says:

    “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.

    I love this quote. Apparently religious freedom now includes the right to have someone else purchase my birth control.

    There’d be no issue at all if the government would stop poking it’s nose where it doesn’t belong. Maybe the government should force McDonald’s to start selling groceries instead.

  10. Mark says:

    We’re talking about preventing pregnancy here, not abortion. If the Catholic Church wants us to stop interfering with “God’s will” by meddling in the natural process of conception, I would flip that argument on its head and also stop interfering with “God’s will” by treating people with injuries or disease. Let them die because “God wills it so.” Stop trying to control moral behavior by making people deal with the consequences of their sexual activities, and focus on the value of living a Christian life.

    Given the nature of the Catholic Church’s record on moral behavior, I say to them: “thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”

    1. LeeB says:

      You expect people to look up something from a work of fiction. Your bible was written by imaginative men long, long after the supposed events occured. They had no way of knowing who supposedly said what to whom.

      1. Minas Unidas says:

        Exactly! It’s simply Paulism.

    2. LeeB says:

      Why is it that so many of you rock-headed people seem to believe that anyone who disagrees with you is a liberal? Other conservatives may also disagree with you. Anything you don’t like is always some liberal’s fault. Come back to planet earth.

    3. Guapi says:

      Do you REALLY belive that no dollars designated for br\irth control were used for aborotion instead??? Hahahahahaha On the otherhand, you libbies are clever, because what is “abortion” if not the most immediate and complete form of ‘birth control”?

  11. Frank Lostaunau says:

    I don’t know one Catholic who doesn’t use birth control. What’s the problem?

    1. Ryan says:

      The problem: you don’t know enough catholics.

      1. Minas Unidas says:

        How many is enough?

      2. Ryan says:

        I explained this already: more than you know which means a larger number than the current number you know at this moment in time.

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