Catholic Institutions required to offer free birth control

By: Alyssa Fenske Email
By: Alyssa Fenske Email

(WEAU) La Crosse- It’s the talk of the nation today.
A controversial plan set forth by the Obama Administration is requiring Catholic Universities, Hospitals, and Charities to offer free birth control.

House Speaker John Boehner promises a fight, saying if the Obama Administration doesn't reverse its policy, Congress will.

The White House is signaling it may take steps to curb Roman Catholic concerns, who say birth control mandates force them to violate religious beliefs.

Local Catholic groups are also having a say about all this.

"On the 29th of January, Bishop Callohan wrote a letter that was read at all the masses and all the parishes in this (La Crosse) Diocese. Other bishops have done the same. A number of bishops are speaking out on the issue," said La Crosse Diocese Spokesman, Stan Gould.

Emily Ackerman is a freshman at Viterbo University, and is a devote Catholic. She says she wont be taking the free birth control.

“When I get married, kids are part of the package. So, no I don’t agree with it, and I don’t want to,” said Ackerman.

But even on campus, there's a divide.

“This is a controversial issue. People are having sex a lot younger, and unprotected. So I think it’s very important to take care of yourself,” said Jessica Walter, Senior at Viterbo University.

This is more than just a women’s rights issue, and the Catholic Institution isn’t going to back down without a fight.

“What I do see is a fight; Catholics are not going to take this lying down," said Gouldman.

The White House is determined to ensure contraceptives to women no matter where they work. But one of the main issues with Catholics is who’s giving it, not who’s getting it.

“It’s not just the user, it can’t be prescribed. A Catholic doctor should not do these things, and now he or she is being forced to," said Gouldman.

President of Viterbo University Rick Artman is calling this a violation of the constitution.

“Its not just a women’s rights issue, or a women’s health issue. In my opinion it’s a freedom issue, freedom of religion, and freedom of private institutions to choose coverage for its employees,” said Artman.

All catholic Institutions have until 2013 to implement the new rule if it not reversed.

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