St. Louis Archdiocese Fighting Against Birth Control Mandate

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The St. Louis Archdiocese is circulating a video about the battle over contraception coverage.  It message is clear:  they believe the compromise announced by President Obama Friday still compromises fundamental Catholic beliefs.

The 30 second video is on youtube and it`s being emailed.  The archdiocese hopes Catholics will look at it, think about it, and pass it on.  It`s called 'Conscience Freedom'.

'The bishops are not asking the government to interfere in anyone else`s conscience,' said Dr. Ed Hogan, Associate Professor at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.  'Individuals are free to buy contraceptives.  Companies are free to provide contraceptive insurance.  That`s a matter of their conscience.  What the bishops are asking is that the church not be forced to violate its own conscience and its own explicit teachings and pay for something that it believes is gravely immoral.'

The Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod echoed the archdiocese`s position, saying the president`s actions Friday were significant, but they remain opposed to the mandate.  Rev. Dr. Matthew Harrison, president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod said, 'the government has overstepped its bounds.'

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R) Missouri proposed an amendment that would completely contradict President Obama`s compromise.  Blunt wants to allow employers to refuse coverage of any healthcare procedure that is counter to their religious or moral beliefs, not just birth control.

'I think this is a genuine assault on first amendment freedoms,' he said of President Obama`s plans.  He was interviewed by the Heritage Foundation and that interview was posted on youtube.

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D) Missouri said Blunt`s amendment was too broad.   'If you believe in preventing abortions, like I do, then it only makes sense to ensure women have equal and universal access to birth control in a way that respects religious freedoms.'

She said the new amendment 'seeks to address a problem that`s already been resolved.'

Hogan said it`s important that the conversation remain about the fundamental issue at hand, and not be totally about politics.  'In some ways I`m very sorry it`s become a political issue because it takes us away from the issue of law and conscience and principal.  And for myself I`d rather stay there and I think the bishops would rather stay there.'