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Bishops Unhappy with Contraception Deal
PHOTO: A case-control study provides new estimates of the risk of specific cancers of the female reproductive system associated with use of injectable and oral contraceptives.

Steve Wisbauer/Getty Images

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops says it is not satisfied with the Obama administration's proposed compromise to ease requirements for religiously-affiliated institutions to provide insurance that covers birth control.

"Health care for all does not mean freedom for few," Cardinal Timothy Dolan, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said today.

Last Friday, the administration proposed allowing religiously-affiliated institutions to opt out of the requirement under the health care law that they provide insurance that covers contraception, in an attempt to address the moral objections of some groups.

"Throughout the past year, we have been assured by the administration that we will not have to refer, pay for, or negotiate for the mandated coverage," Dolan said "We remain eager for the administration to fulfill that pledge and to find acceptable solutions - we will affirm any genuine progress that is made, and we will redouble our efforts to overcome obstacles or setbacks."

Catholics United fired back, saying the bishop's decision was "shocking" and "insincere."

"This announcement by the bishops today has zero to do with finding solutions to real problems and everything to do with scoring political points for the far right," said James Salt, executive director for Catholics United. "This displays the sad state of affairs in the hierarchy in America. One is forced to ask the question: where are the adults in the room at the USCCB?"

Planned Parenthood also decried the bishops' objection to the compromise. "It is becoming clear that some people just will not rest until they have found a way to deny women access to birth control coverage," Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards said.

The administration's proposed work-around would allow religious groups that oppose providing health insurance that covers birth control to work with a "third-party administrator" that would give women access to contraceptive coverage at no additional cost.

The compromise was put forth after religious groups and private employers filed dozens of lawsuits against the administration saying the provision requiring employers to cover birth control violated their religious beliefs.

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