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Legal Daily News Feature

Obama’s Mandate on Birth Control for Catholic Affiliated Institutions Sparks Outcry Among Conservatives and Liberals Alike By Rebecca E. Neely Mired in confusion and topped off with an apparent complete lack of focus, the Obama administration’s recent mandate that requires Catholic affiliated institutions to cover birth control in their employees’ health insurance plans has everyone up in arms, from conservatives to liberals, and is being seen by many as a major overreach of the government.


– lending new meaning to the age old, illogical argument of ‘everyone’s doing it.’

The mandate packs a wallop alone in the number of people who could potentially be affected: according to the February 7th article, “Obama contraception rule challenged”, Catholic hospitals provide care for an estimated one-sixth of the U.S. population annually. If universities and hospitals don’t comply, they run the risk of being slapped with hefty fines. Being a Catholic myself, I completely understand the outrage. The entire concept goes against a core belief of the faith. However, aside from religious ramifications, as well, the timing – so soon before a presidential election – was clearly ill advised; though, would any time for this type of decision have been good? Religious universities have already filed two federal suits, alleging that the mandate is violating religious liberties, and essentially, forcing them to make a choice between moral and social issues. In addition, the general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops promised further litigation. As always, there are two sides to every debate, and those in support of the mandate argue that nearly thirty states have similar requirements in place already. As well, challenges to the state mandates based on faith have all been shot down


In upholding the state requirements in the past, courts provided the following statistic, according to the article: “Without contraceptive coverage, women would be forced to spend as much as 68 percent more on out-of-pocket health care costs during their reproductive years.” However, those against the mandate, aside from moral and constitutional issues, say there’s a bit of an ‘out’ when it comes to the state requirements – if an employer doesn’t agree with said requirements, they can opt out of offering coverage – something that’s not possible with the federal mandate. Organizations weighing in on the debate, among others, include the National Right to Life Committee, Center for Reproductive Rights, and the American Civil Liberties Union. Birth control has been in the forefront of the news in recent days. Susan G. Komen For the Cure’s had recently announced it would cut its funding to Planned Parenthood because the group is currently under federal investigation, spurred by antiabortion advocates – a decision it reversed only days later amid a maelstrom of criticism.

Obamas Mandate on Birth Control for Catholic Affiliated Institutions Sparks Outcry Among