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Opposition to contraception coverage broadenscomment (0)

January 12, 2012

WASHINGTON — More than 60 Protestant and Orthodox Jewish religious leaders wrote the White House Dec. 21 asking President Obama not to implement a mandate requiring all private insurers to provide contraception and sterilization coverage.

Guidelines announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Aug. 1 include a religious exemption designed for the Catholic Church, which does not believe in artificial birth control. Catholics say the exemption, which protects seminaries and a few churches, is too narrow to protect the conscience of all Catholics.

Leaders including the Southern Baptist Convention’s (SBC) Richard Land, however, pointed out that Catholics aren’t alone in their opposition to the proposed regulations.

“We write not in opposition to Catholic leaders and organizations; rather, we write in solidarity, but separately — to stress that religious organizations and leaders of other faiths are also deeply troubled by and opposed to the mandate and the narrow exemption,” the letter said.  The Protestant and Jewish leaders said Catholics aren’t the only faith group that opposes the use of contraceptives like the “morning-after” pill, which controls birth by removing an egg after it has been fertilized.

In addition to Land, president of the SBC Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, signers included Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals; Tom Minnery, senior vice president of Focus on the Family; Ron Sider, president, Evangelicals for Social Action; and Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Another signer, Paul Corts, president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities, followed up with a separate letter Dec. 23 saying the regulations as written would violate the religious beliefs of the 138 member and affiliate schools that participate in the organization.

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