Contraceptive mandate riles area Catholics
by Rachel Cooper and Lindsay Field
rcooper@mdjonline.com, lfield@mdjonline.com
July 01, 2012 01:54 AM | 4086 views | 31 31 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
SMYRNA — Although the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 on Thursday, faith-based entities, specifically Catholic churches and organizations, still take issue with portions of the health care law.

“We continue to be concerned and object to the Health and Human Services mandate that is requiring employers, including Catholic entities, to include contraceptives, abortion-inducing drugs and sterilization in their health care plans,” said Pat Chivers, a spokeswoman with the Archdiocese of Atlanta in Smyrna.

Father Tim Hepburn, vocations director for the Smyrna Archdiocese location, said he has heard from several people about the law, both before and after the ruling.

“I’m telling people that the truth wins in the end and to work towards that and pray for it,” he said. “We want affordable health care, just not this mandate.”

Objections to the law have spawned about 16 national lawsuits, 12 of which are from Catholic organizations.

Chivers said the Atlanta archdiocese is not involved in the lawsuit because they didn’t feel the need to file when 12 others were, but they are among 195 archdioceses in the United States who support the lawsuit.

In light of the law, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also organized the Fortnight for Freedom, which runs from June 21 to July 4 and is a time when people of the Catholic faith may pray, fast or take the catechesis, which means to take time to learn about their faith.

“This was an attack on our religion freedoms,” Chivers said. “Our church teaches natural family planning, which is 98 percent effective … a whole lot more than the pill. We teach it as God’s law.”

Chivers said Catholics realize that people are going to use contraceptives, but they don’t want the federal government telling them that they must provide it to their employees, whether they work in a Catholic charity, church or at the Archdiocese, like she does.

“The Catholic church doesn’t want to pay for … contraception,” she said. “We consider it a cooperation with evil. We have been told that many Catholics do use birth control, but they can do that at their own expense.”

The Archdiocese of Atlanta serves around one million Catholics, about 85,000 of whom live in Cobb County.

JoAnn Birrell, the northeast Cobb commissioner, has attended the Catholic Church of St. Ann in Marietta for the last six years.

“I definitely don’t agree with the Supreme Court decision to uphold Obamacare, as a Republican or a Catholic,” said Birrell, who has been Catholic all her life. “To me, it’s interfering with individual rights.”

Birrell believes it’s unconstitutional to force people to pay into a health care system that funds abortion when her faith is pro-life.

“That’s where my beliefs are and where the Catholic church is coming from,” she said.

Larry Burke, who has attended St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Marietta for the last 20 years, said he objects to “government interference with my right to make choices regarding health care.”

“From a religious standpoint, I absolutely object to government requiring a religious organization, such as the Catholic church, to fund a health care system that provides services which are contrary to our fundamental religious beliefs and absolutely violates our moral ethics,” he said.

Burke is an usher at St. Joseph’s, president of St. Vincent de Taul and a member of Knights of Columbus. He is also an associate judge in Marietta City Court and is running for state court judge.

The Acworth native said he foresees organizations closing because of the law.

“As an institution, the problem for the Catholic Church is it would rather close down any facilities such as a school that is going to be mandated to provide abortion services rather than continuing that entity,” Burke said. “There are so many good organizations within the Catholic church — schools, homeless organizations and overseas organizations for less fortunate areas. All those programs potentially will be shut down rather than support a system that will violate Catholic beliefs.”
Comments
(31)
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tyler durden
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July 11, 2012
if the Catholics cared as much about getting rid of pedophiles as they do about telling women what to do they might have a shred of credibility.

Lib in Cobb
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July 03, 2012
Devlin: OK, now I understand. Yup, keep praying, the end is near.
Lib in Cobb
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July 03, 2012
Devlin: WHAT? You are obviously unaware of those consumer protection clauses within the ACA.

Show me where I am incorrect.

Devlin Adams
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July 03, 2012
What is fooliosh is your suggestuib that we need protection from insurance companies. Such clauses as you speak of in Obamacare are designed to bring about the eventual demise of insurance companies and the birth of government run and managed socialized medicine.

Right now I am praying that the Mayan calendar is right and December 21st, 2012, brings an end to this madness.

DeannaInGa
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July 02, 2012
The problem is the Catholic Clergy is worried about losing mind control over their membership. Let's face it, just like with abortion, even though it may be available, if you don't believe in it, you won't do it. Same with contraception, if you don't believe in it, don't use it.

Two Left Feet?
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July 02, 2012
The shoes have to fit both feet. A quote from this article states, "...“Our church teaches natural family planning..." I don't see where they are opposed to in vitro fertilization, fertility treatments, etc. These aren't "natural family planning" techniques. You can't have it both ways.
Devlin Adams
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July 02, 2012
When you do not know what you are talking about it is often wise to keep your mouth shut. A good thing for you to remember.
ObamaRobertsCare
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July 02, 2012
Get with the program, Catholics. You live in America, too. Figure out and present something that will be compatible with your religion instead of just complaining. Of couse, the President has never expected your votes, but you still need to somehow work with the rest of us. You can't be outside the law. You lost the health care issue; just like the rest of us would have to live with it if we lost. Hope you don't forget that we are ONE NATION under God. You don't break ground just because you didn't get your way.
Lib in Cobb
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July 02, 2012
ObamaRoberts: The American public was just given the most significant legislation since The Civil Rights Act. There are clauses within the ACA which protects all of us from the healthcare insurance companies and their gauging.
Devlin Adams
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July 02, 2012
Lig, that is so absoluetly totally foolish. If you are not embarrassed about posting it, I am embarrassed for you.
The Observer
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July 02, 2012
The GOP should investigate Roberts and Obama, see if their finances have a connection, then impeach them and have them ousted. It's the people like ObamaRobertsCare and Lib in Cobb that are cancers to this once great nation. Why don't you MOVE FROM Cobb and into Greece to see a glimpse of the future resulting from the things you Communists do.
The Observer
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July 01, 2012
If you want religious freedom, vote for Romney and anyone running against a Democrat, no no, a COMMUNIST in Congress. That's our only hope now.
Lib in Cobb
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July 02, 2012
The Observer: I want freedom FROM religion, difficult to find in the bible belt.
The Observer
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July 03, 2012
LIB IN COBB: I WANT FREEDOM FROM COMMUNISTS IN COBB!
Recovering Catholic
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July 01, 2012
Our Muslim President has no right, whatsoever, telling anyone what to do!
RobertsAgrees
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July 01, 2012
Conservative Roberts didn't strike down any part of the law. Why won't you all accept it.
The Observer
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July 02, 2012
Because we don't want to
Too funny
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July 01, 2012
These people need to emerge from the dark ages. How many African children have needlessly been born with AIDS as a result of the Catholic Church's antediluvian position on contraception? Increased access to contraception is a public health achievement to be lauded, not stymied based on an archaic religious ideology.
Lib in Cobb
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July 01, 2012
If Catholics, don't want to practice birth control don't. No one is going to make you. BTW, a very large percentage of practicing Catholic women are taking birth control. Sounds like the Catholics have already lost this fight.
Mad Protestant
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July 01, 2012
I am not Catholic but boy am I mad that this health care act will require them to do something that is totally against their religion. I am originally from Illinois where the Catholic faith is abundant in hospitals and other organizations -more so than the metro Atlanta area. To make these faith-based organizations go against what they stand for is unconstitutional and invades freedom. I hope that every Catholic in America makes it to the poll on November 6th.
Lib in Cobb
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July 02, 2012
Mad: Is the catholic church also against child rape?
To Lib in Cobb
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July 07, 2012
Your comment is a red herring Lib. It has nothing to do with the argument and distracts from what is really going on here. Don't generalize good practicing Catholics with those who used Catholicism to commit horrific acts.
rjsnh
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July 01, 2012
What should rile Catholics more is child abuse by priest and financial irregularities within the Vatican and the crackdown on nuns by the Pope.
Devlin Adams
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July 01, 2012
AS a citizen, a patriot, a conservative and a CAtholic, I find it highly hypocritical of the Church that they are suddenly willing to fight this law over one issue, when there are a couple of dozen more important reasons to fight it. Prior to now, the Church has embraced Obama and his race to socialize every aspect of our lives.

I guess this proves that, even in high minded religious doctrone, it all "depends on whose ox is getting gored."
The Observer
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July 02, 2012
The Catholic church is suddenly fighing the law over one issue because only now they realize that they elected someone who wasn't. He campaigned on being a moderate who would side with the right side. He isn't. He's an outright Liberal, no no, a COMMUNIST, who does not compromise and politically makes it his way or the highway. He's arrogant. He doesn't really care for the American people, he care's for his image in their minds. This ObamaCare wasn't passed for the people, it was passed by the Communists to "improve" their images. There's only one hope to save this country now, and that's to vote for every Republican running for every office in Congress, achieve a filibuster-proof super-majority so nothing can stop the repeal of this law.
WHY3
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July 01, 2012
Why do intelligent human beings allow organized religions such as Catholicism dictate what, when, where, how and why of their lives? Catholics, one of which I am, need to think for themselves and NO one is going to tell me what is right or wrong when it comes to my body especially since the Pope and his people have to many secrets and pedophiles within its ranks.People, think for yourselves.Priests and nuns--get a job and stop being leeches living off of others.Even the men of Christ(apostles) were allowed to marry. It is all about money.
J Balfour
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July 01, 2012
First, the Catholic church needs to be as worried about pedophiles in the priesthood rather than women's private issues.

Second every Catholic woman I know, except two, used or uses birth control and the two who didn't were lesbians.

Third, the church should get our of the health insurance business. That is not inline with their doctrine. Where in the Bible does it say "Insure your employees"?
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