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Archbishop Dolan Says Obama Administration ‘Treats Pregnancy As Disease’


Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, head of the U.S. bishops’ conference, says the Obama administration has revoked the religious freedom of groups that do not regard women’s fertility as as “disease.”


“The Catholic Church defends religious liberty, including freedom of conscience, for everyone,” the New York archbishop and conference president wrote in a Jan. 25 Wall Street Journal editorial, addressing the government’s final decision to require contraception coverage in most new health plans.

With this decision, the cardinal-designate wrote, “the Obama administration has failed to show the same respect for the consciences of Catholics and others who object to treating pregnancy as a disease.”

On Jan. 20 the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed it would impose the contraception coverage mandate on most religious institutions, with a narrow exception for groups whose main purpose is the “inculcation of religious values” among people of the same faith.

“Even Jesus and his disciples would not qualify for the exemption,” Cardinal-designate Dolan noted, “because they were committed to serve those of other faiths.”

Health and Human Services finalized the contraceptive mandate just days before the annual March for Life, an event that mourns the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision.


As the U.S. bishops’ president observed in his editorial, the decision came despite a landmark Supreme Court case in which all nine justices ruled in favor of religious ministries’ right of self-determination.

“Scarcely two weeks ago, in its Hosanna-Tabor decision upholding the right of churches to make ministerial hiring decisions, the Supreme Court unanimously and enthusiastically reaffirmed these longstanding and foundational principles of religious freedom,” he recalled.

The court, he said, made it clear that religious institutions had the right “to control their internal affairs.”

But the Obama administration “has veered in the opposite direction.”

“It has refused to exempt religious institutions that serve the common good – including Catholic schools, charities and hospitals – from its sweeping new health-care mandate that requires employers to purchase contraception, including abortion-producing drugs, and sterilization coverage for their employees.”

Cardinal-designate Dolan called the move “an unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience” that forces an “unacceptable dilemma” on believers: “Stop serving people of all faiths in their ministries – so that they will fall under the narrow exemption – or stop providing health-care coverage to their own employees.”

Non-exempt religious groups have been granted an additional year to comply with the mandate, a concession the future cardinal ridiculed – “as if we might suddenly be more willing to violate our consciences 12 months from now.”

First published in August 2011 as part of federal health care reform, the contraception coverage requirement has drawn criticism from a broad spectrum of groups – including Orthodox Jews and Evangelical Christians, as well as some Catholics known for supporting the president on other issues.

“Hundreds of religious institutions, and hundreds of thousands of individual citizens, have raised their voices in principled opposition to this requirement,” Cardinal-designate Dolan wrote in his editorial.

“Many of these good people and groups were Catholic, but many were Americans of other faiths, or no faith at all, who recognize that their beliefs could be next on the block.”

In Wednesday’s editorial, Cardinal-designate Dolan stressed that religious liberty is also “the lifeblood of the American people” and “the cornerstone of American government,” guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.

Now, he warned, this right is jeopardized in the interest of preventing fertility.

“This latest erosion of our first freedom should make all Americans pause. When the government tampers with a freedom so fundamental to the life of our nation, one shudders to think what lies ahead.”


The Catholic News Agency (CNA) has been, since 2004, one of the fastest growing Catholic news providers to the English speaking world. The Catholic News Agency takes much of its mission from its sister agency, ACI Prensa, which was founded in Lima, Peru, in 1980 by Fr. Adalbert Marie Mohm (†1986).

2 thoughts on “Archbishop Dolan Says Obama Administration ‘Treats Pregnancy As Disease’

  • January 29, 2012 at 9:54 pm

    The Archbishop seems late to realization of the anti-christian position of this President. As Catholics look to the USCCB as fiduciaries not
    only on donations but on positions on core Catholic beliefs, with all due
    respect, it seems the Bishops are letting down the Catholics making up
    the church.
    They now want political pressure to be brought after the horse is out
    of the barn when most of the positions were obvious when many in
    the church were promoting this ant-iamerican anti-catholic administration, but ignoring history or promoting their own agendas.

    Did the Bishops do their fiduciary responsibilities before the 2008
    elections?? and are they doing it now with regard to the hijacking
    of the concept of “social justice” as defined by the progressives and
    interjecting the Bishops understanding of economics (Arch.of Milwaukee).
    i understand your needs, but I am having trouble buying into accepting the USCCB given their lack of consistency of message. (do they really think they are fiduciaries with regard to religous principles-
    where was the due diligence with regard to supporting of the new ” Messiah”).

    Consider the following:
    1- many supported Notre Dame lack of understanding of the importance of US presidency at time when it
    was most possible to block Obama’s progress
    2-many Jesuit colleges still don’t get the message re: what seems to be Catholic core principles both in who
    they invite to indoctrinate students at graduations and in classes. and their freedom to have atheists and anti christians on their faculties
    3-supporting not only the great abortion advocate Obama, but glorifying the funeral of Ted Kennedy who was one
    of the preceding leaders of proabortion around the world with US funds many of which are taxes on Pro Life
    citizens, supporting repeal of the Mexico policy, etc.
    4-supporting the gay lesbian movement in ways contrary to official Majesterium positions
    5-supporting policy of taking from the “rich” and “giving” to the poor, with neglect of promoting taking responsibility and accountability
    for themselves and others
    6-in short, having one voice on core issues, not just advertising “Catholics Come Home”, without knowing what they are coming home to.
    7- now its much harder to get anti-christian and anti-catholic policies reversed by left leaning, progressives in and
    out side the Church

    Why not apologize and widely advertise the core principles that one should be expected to believe and widely reject phony balony coming from individuals by name from the Democratic Obama Administration, including Obama, Pelosi, Sibelius, Sr.Keenan, and other politicians and other Bishops and Cardinals who want to rewrite Catholic principles – or are the monies more important to the current day Pharisees.

    Ron Villella MD

  • February 10, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Thanks you Cardinal designate Dolan!!! we as Catholics are so blessed to have you stand up for our doctrines and beliefs. We have been vilified by this administration as they trample on our rights. You are the example of a true leader nand a man of faith and principles…just as jesus taught!! unlike our president….you lead us all by speaking the truth. Blessings to you!!!!!


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