Contraception policy rankles some Catholics

February 13, 2012 4:52:05 AM PST
Even though the U.S. Conference of Bishops has denounced it, President Barack Obama's advisors Sunday defended the administration's recent policy change on contraceptive coverage.

Meanwhile, in Catholic churches across Chicago, parishioners joined the debate.

"For far too long the Catholic Church has allowed president Obama to get away with a lot of his politics," said Catholic Larry Ligas

Parishioners leaving Sunday morning services at Holy Name Cathedral sided with the bishops and rejected the president's attempt to reach a compromise in the ongoing debate regarding birth control coverage for women who work for catholic institutions.

"Somebody has to take a stronger stance sometimes," said Debby Spada. "It's not always easy. We have to stand with what we believe."

The president backed down from his original stance on Friday, now wanting insurance companies, rather than religious groups, to pay for contraceptive care as part of healthcare reform.

At first, it seemed like maybe a compromise might have been struck. The Catholic Health Association and Catholic Charities USA supported the accommodation. But then the U.S. Conference of Bishops spoke out, accusing the White House of "needless government intrusion" and threatening "coercion of religious people."

On ABC's This Week Republican congressman Paul Ryan also blasted the president.

"If this is what the president's willing to do in a tough election year, imagine what he will do in implementing the rest of his health care law after an election," Ryan said.

The president's chief of staff meanwhile, told ABC's George Stephanopoulos there will be no more compromise.

"We didn't expect that there would be universal support," chief of staff Jack Lew. "But we do think this is the right way to go and it's the plan we're going to proceed with."

Who will pay for this? The White House said it won't cost insurers more because they say providing birth control actually lowers the overall cost of women's healthcare.