Catholic Church Drops White House Subpoena Request, Continues Contraceptives Fight
The Catholic Church reduced its pressure on the Obama administration in the legal fight over the government’s requirement of insurance coverage for birth control, but did not say why.
On Monday, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York rescinded its subpoena of White House documents in a federal lawsuit concerning the new insurance mandate. The Church had asked for documents from administration staff, including President Barack Obama, in its challenge to that part of the Health Care Act of 2010.
Earlier this month, the administration asked a federal judge to scuttle the request, calling it “inappropriate.” The Church filed a notice in U.S. District Court in Washington agreeing to withdraw the request.
The Archdiocese and the White House both declined to comment to media, though the overall lawsuit continues in in U.S. District Court in New York City. One of the largest archdioceses in the country, the organization would face $200 million in annual penalties for failing to comply with the federal law, even with religious exemptions that are part of the law. However, the Church preaches against contraception as a violation of natural law.
The Obama administration has tried to negotiate a settlement in the dispute, which pits two cherished liberal ideas against each other: respect for women, respect for religious freedom.
Jacqueline Nolley Echegaray, of Catholics for Choice, feels no moral qualms, though. “It’s about what is morally right,” she told media last month, saying she and millions of American Catholics support contraception for health and social reasons.
In the United States, poor women are six times more likely than richer women to experience unintended pregnancies, according to statistics for 2006. Moreover, the Brookings Institution reported from a 2011 study that such pregnancies cost a collective $6 billion. Outside the country in the developing world, many of the 2.5 million new HIV infections would be prevented with greater use of condoms, says the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This piece was originally published by Medical Daily.