Continuing a Fox News campaign to portray President Obama as anti-Christian, Sean Hannity claimed the administration's requirement that insurers cover contraception for women was part of a "war on religion." That criticism is undermined by the fact that a majority of Catholics believe insurance policies should cover contraceptives.
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Obama Administration Reaffirmed Health Insurers Must Cover Contraception
New York Times: "Obama Reaffirms Insurers Must Cover Contraception." From a January 20 article in The New York Times:
The Obama administration said Friday that most health insurance plans must cover contraceptives for women free of charge, and it rejected a broad exemption sought by the Roman Catholic Church for insurance provided to employees of Catholic hospitals, colleges and charities.
Federal officials said they would give such church-affiliated organizations one additional year -- until Aug. 1, 2013 -- to comply with the requirement. Most other employers and insurers must comply by this Aug. 1. [The New York Times, 1/20/12]
And While Polling Shows That Catholics Support Insurance Coverage For Contraception
Catholics For Choice Poll Found 63 Percent Of American Catholics Support Coverage For "Contraception, Such As Birth Control Pills." According to a 2009 poll conducted for Catholics for Choice, 63 percent of American Catholics said that "health insurance policies -- whether they are private or government -- should cover ... contraception, such as birth control pills."
[Belden Russonello & Stewart, September 2009]
And Several Catholic Groups Found A "Silver Lining" In The Move
Catholic United's Executive Director: "There Is A Silver Lining In Today's Ruling. Increased Access To Contraceptive Services Will Dramatically Reduce The Abortion Rate In America." James Salt, executive director of the group Catholics United, issued this statement in response to the contraception ruling:
Although we recognize the authority of Catholic teaching on the issue of contraception, we also acknowledge that there is a silver lining in today's ruling. Increased access to contraceptive services will dramatically reduce the abortion rate in America. Reducing abortion should be a goal recognized by both sides of this highly polarized debate. Furthermore, we look forward to working with the administration in finding a win-win solution that will both meet the medical needs of women while protecting the religious liberty of Catholic institutions. [Catholics United, 1/20/12]
Catholic Democrats President Whelan: "These New Regulations ... Will Certainly Help Reduce The Number Of Unintended Pregnancies" And "Decrease The Incidence Of Abortion." Dr. Patrick Whelan, president of Catholic Democrats, issued a statement on the HHS ruling that noted, "These new regulations, providing for greater access to contraception, will certainly help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies across the country, and correspondingly are likely to further decrease the incidence of abortion." From Whelan's statement:
As a physician and pediatric specialist, I know that news of the HHS regulations today means that more women will have access to the kind of health care that has been denied to millions over the years because of the high cost. Over 50% of girls and women who use contraceptives take them for reasons other than the prevention of pregnancy. Since the beginning of his first presidential campaign in 2007, President Obama has emphasized the importance of preventing unintended pregnancy as the most moral approach to solving the abortion problem. These new regulations, providing for greater access to contraception, will certainly help reduce the number of unintended pregnancies across the country, and correspondingly are likely to further decrease the incidence of abortion. [Catholic Democrats, accessed 1/26/12]
Hannity Accused Obama Of Waging "A War On Religion"
Hannity: This Is A "War On Religion." Hannity called the contraception mandate an "assault on the first amendment, freedom of religion, a war on religion":
HANNITY: Do we all agree this is an assault on the first amendment, freedom of religion, a war on religion? Am I wrong? [Fox News, Hannity, 2/7/12]
Stuart Varney: President Obama Is Telling Catholics "You Must Abandon Your Faith, Or Abandon Charity." Stuart Varney called the contraception coverage mandate, "a cruel and arrogant move":
VARNEY: I'll go further, and I'll be harsher. I think this is a cruel and arrogant move on the part of the president. It is cruel to tell Catholics that you must abandon your faith, or abandon charity. That is a cruel decision to place upon anybody. [Fox News, Hannity, 2/7/12]
For Fox's ongoing campaign to portray President Obama as anti-Catholic, click here