The AP reports:
Sharpening an election-year confrontation over religious freedom and government health insurance rules, the nation’s Catholic hospitals on Friday rejected President Barack Obama’s compromise for providing birth control coverage to their women employees.
The Catholic Health Association was a key ally in Obama’s health care overhaul, defying opposition from church bishops to help the president win approval in Congress. But the group said Friday it does not believe church-affiliated employers should have to provide birth control as a free preventive service, as the law now requires. [...]
In a letter to the federal Health and Human Services department, the hospital group said the compromise initially seemed to be “a good first step” but that examination of the details proved disappointing. The plan would be “unduly cumbersome” to carry out and “unlikely to adequately meet the religious liberty concerns” of all its members, the group said. [...]
The association represents about 600 hospitals and hundreds of nursing homes and other health-related organizations, totaling 2,000 members around the country. One of every six patients is cared for in a Catholic hospital.
The Associated Press reports that the CHA has rejected Obama's "compromise," but does Obama's policy really deserve to be called a "compromise"? "The problem that opponents of the original rule have had is that it effectively requires religious employers to purchase a product (an insurance policy) that provides their employees with free access to contraceptive and abortifacient drugs that they would not have otherwise had, and thus requires those employers to purchase a product that violates their religious convictions. The new rule does exactly the same thing," as Yuval Levin explained back in February.
Update: The news about the Catholic hospitals opposition to the mandate comes as Catholics are set to launch a two-week campaign protesting the Obamacare mandate before the Fourth of July:
"It is not about parties, candidates or elections as others have suggested," said Baltimore Archbishop William Lori, chairman of the bishops' religious-liberty committee. "The government chose to pick a fight with us." [...]
The bishops are organizing a "Fortnight for Freedom," two weeks of rallies and prayer services on religious freedom leading up to July Fourth. Archbishop Carlo Vigano, the pope's ambassador to the United States, told the bishops that the advocacy effort "has my full support."