The President Barack Obama Administration’s decision requiring church-affiliated employers to cover birth control led to an uproar among Roman Catholics and members of other faiths, as the regulation, which was finalized a week ago, has sparked intense debate, The Associated Press reported.
According to the news outlet, Federal law lays out several criteria for the government to determine which organizations are religious, as the massive network of religious-run social service agencies is not clearly identifiable one way or another.
Critics have noted that Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius chose the narrowest criteria for making the determination, and religious groups oppose the rule because it allegedly forces people of faith to choose between upholding church doctrine and following the law.
“It’s not about preventing women from buying anything themselves, but telling the church what it has to buy, and the potential for that to go further,” Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, representing some 600 hospitals, told the AP.
USA Today reported that the move by the Administration to require employers to cover birth control through insurance policies does not require churches themselves to cover contraception and no healthcare provider will be forced to prescribe the medication.