November 14, 2012 — U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops president, New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan, on Tuesday said the Roman Catholic Church will not comply with the federal contraceptive coverage rules and will continue to pursue legal challenges to the mandate in legislatures and in court, the AP/Miami Herald reports (Zoll, AP/Miami Herald, 11/13).
The rules implement a provision of the Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148); they require most health plans issued or renewed after Aug. 1 to cover various women's preventive services without copayments or deductibles. HHS has given religiously affiliated entities, such as colleges and hospitals, a one-year delay period to come into compliance with the contraceptive coverage rules, and religious institutions, such as churches and synagogues, are exempt altogether (Women's Health Policy Report, 8/6).
Dozens of lawsuits have been filed by Catholic dioceses, charities and colleges against the rules and the bishops have made the mandate the centerpiece of a national campaign on preserving religious freedom.
Speaking at a national bishops' meeting, Dolan said that the bishops are open to working with administration officials to resolve the issue. He added, "The only thing we're certainly not prepared to do is give in. We're not violating our consciences. ... I would say no door is closed except for the door to capitulation" (AP/Miami Herald, 11/13).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership