Via Think Progress, we find that the Catholic Bishops who have been leading the attack on Obama’s birth control decision to protect birth control coverage in the Affordable Care Act don’t just want an exemption from certain religious institutions, but are looking for a full-blown repeal of the rule. USA Today reports:
Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. “There has been a lot of talk in the last couple days about compromise, but it sounds to us like a way to turn down the heat, to placate people without doing anything in particular,” Picarello said. “We’re not going to do anything until this is fixed.”
That means removing the provision from the health care law altogether, he said, not simply changing it for Catholic employers and their insurers. He cited the problem that would create for “good Catholic business people who can’t in good conscience cooperate with this.”
“If I quit this job and opened a Taco Bell, I’d be covered by the mandate,” Picarello said.
If repealed, it could potentially meant that any employer would be able to deny any kind of health care to anyone because they’re religiously objected to it; in other words, it would allow a nationwide conscience clause. Which is funny, considering that the central mandate of the requirement has actually been in effect for most employers since 2000, including while George W. Bush was president. So if they got their way, it could actually mean a huge step backward for access to birth control coverage. And all of this is despite the fact that most Catholics actually agree that health plans should include contraception.
The bishops have made it abundantly clear that his has nothing to do with religious liberty, and everything to do with imposing regressive beliefs onto people’s heath care access.