Catholic bishops rebuke Biden over contraception mandate claims

WASHINGTON — In a rare public rebuke, Catholic bishops chided Vice President Joe Biden for saying during Thursday’s vice-presidential debate … Continued

WASHINGTON — In a rare public rebuke, Catholic bishops chided Vice President Joe Biden for saying during Thursday’s vice-presidential debate that Catholic hospitals and institutions will not be forced to provide contraception coverage to employees.

Without mentioning Biden by name, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the “inaccurate” statement “made during the Vice Presidential debate” was “not a fact.”

Biden and GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan are both Catholic.

During Thursday’s debate, Biden said “No religious institution-Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital-none has to either refer contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact.”

Biden also said that there is no “assault on the Catholic Church.” Ryan responded, “Why would they keep suing you?”

More than 35 suits have been filed against the Obama administration’s plan to require employers to provide no-cost contraception coverage to employees. Religious employers like churches are exempt from those rules, while affiliated institutions — hospitals, universities and others — that serve the general public are not.

The White House later offered a complex compromise that would allow insurance companies, rather than employers, to pay for the contraceptive coverage. Critics — including the bishops — say it doesn’t go far enough.

“They will have to pay for these things, because the premiums that the organizations (and their employees) are required to pay will still be applied, along with other funds, to cover the cost of these drugs and surgeries,” the bishops’ conference said.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which filed the first suit against the mandate on behalf of Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, used Biden’s statement to fire off a fundraising appeal, saying, “In short, what the Vice President of the United States said last night was, to use a respectful term, woefully inaccurate.”

Clo Ewing, an Obama campaign spokeswoman, stood by Biden’s statement, and criticized Ryan and running mate Mitt Romney for using the issue as a “political football.”

“President Obama and Vice President Biden believe standing up for women’s health and respecting religious liberties are not mutually exclusive, and they are committed to upholding both principles,” she said in a statement to Religion News Service. “As it stands, no religious institution will have to refer, provide, or pay for contraception.”

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Religion News Service LLC.

  • Djones121

    “Biden and GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan are both Catholic.”

    One statement by Biden pointed out a major difference with Ryan that the media did not seem to notice. In discussing his Catholic beliefs, Biden said “But, I refuse to impose it on equally devout Christians, and Muslims, and Jews. I just refuse to impose that on others unlike my friend here, the congressman.”

    I fully agree with Biden. For me that is a deal maker. Like the bishops, Ryan thinks he has an obligation to impose Catholic theology on the whole country. They think freedom of religion means they are free to force all of us to comply with Catholic doctrine on contraception and birth control. Essentially, they want the Federal Government to enforce Catholic theology even though most Catholics do not believe in that theology. It is just too dangerous to have true believers like Ryan hold Federal office. We do not have an established religion in the U.S. and it is obvious that Ryan’s true allegiance is to the bishops and not the Constitution.

  • amelia45

    Thank you, Djones121. Biden knows how to be both a Catholic and a citizen of a democracy, respecting both institutions.

  • PaulB7777

    Uhhh…not quite. How ridiculous to pretend that Ryan’s position is simply a Catholic one. Not that people read much, but theism is the only rational basis for human rights. Mindless quantum events don’t magically bestow human rights on anything and two nazis agreeing about Jews or two abortionists agreeing about the babies deaths doesn’t manufacture a new human right to be killed. It is the most fundamental of human rights that is the basis for Ryan’s position here. It’s the natural law…our very nature that is the basis for our legitimate freedoms and rights. It is you who seek to impose on others both death and a duty to kill the innocent and defenceless. Shame on you.