contraception

Several states sue to block exeption rule to HHS contraceptive mandate

WASHINGTON — The Little Sisters of the Poor, who have always been known for their care for the elderly poor, have been in the spotlight for the past six years with their objection to the federal government's requirement that they provide insurance coverage of contraceptives for their employees.

They hoped the issue was behind them after a new rule was issued in October by the Department of Health and Human Services granting an exemption to the contraceptive mandate for religious nonprofits who oppose the mandate on religious grounds.

Trump administration expands exemptions on contraceptive mandate

WASHINGTON -- The Trump administration Oct. 6 issued interim rules expanding the exemption to the contraceptive mandate for religious employers, such as the Little Sisters of the Poor, who object on moral grounds to covering contraceptive and abortion-inducing drugs and devices in their employee health insurance.

Leaders of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops praised the action as "a return to common sense, long-standing federal practice and peaceful coexistence between church and state."

Missouri legislation seeks to pre-empt city’s ‘abortion sanctuary’ ordinance

Lisa Johnston  |  lisajohnston@archstl.org  |  twitter: @aeternusphoto

Sponsor of House Bill 174, Rep. Tila Hubrecht from Southeast MO, watched as St. Louis City Ward 06 Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia gave testimony opposing the bill. Ingrassia came to the meeting of the House's Children and Families Committee to voice her concern over pregnancy resource centers. 

Missouri legislators considering a bill on free speech rights of alternative-to-abortion agencies turned to discussion on religious liberty and a recent measure passed in St. Louis City, at a hearing this week at the state Capitol.

House Bill 174, sponsored by Rep. Tila Hubrecht (R-Dexter), would protect the rights of alternatives-to-abortion agencies, such as pregnancy resource centers and maternity homes, to freely assemble and engage in religious practices or speech without government interference. The bill was heard Feb. 14 by members of the Children and Families Committee.

Missouri legislators considering a bill on free speech rights of alternative-to-abortion agencies turned to discussion on religious liberty and a recent measure passed in the City of St. Louis. The discussion came at a hearing Feb. 14 at the state Capitol.

In Zika outbreak, contraceptives may be 'lesser evil,' pope says

ABOARD THE PAPAL FLIGHT FROM MEXICO -- With physicians across Central and South American urging women to postpone pregnancy because of the Zika virus that causes birth defects, Pope Francis said using contraceptives could be a "lesser evil."

Holding a news conference Feb. 17 on his way back to Rome after a six-day visit to Cuba and Mexico, the pope was asked if the use of artificial contraceptives or abortion could be considered "a lesser evil" when the baby had a high risk of birth defects.

New U.K. guidance may hurt those who won't dispense morning-after pill

LIVERPOOL, England -- British doctors and nurses who refuse to dispense the morning-after pill on grounds of conscience will be unable to receive a specialist diploma in sexual health care.

Guidance issued by the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare states that medical professionals who, for religious reasons, refuse to hand out "emergency" contraception cannot receive the qualification.

The diploma is considered to represent the "gold standard" of sexual health care training, a source at the faculty told Catholic News Service in an April 30 telephone conversation.

Univision poll shows strong support for church teaching in Asia, Africa

MEXICO CITY -- A poll by Spanish-language broadcaster Univision shows Catholics in Asia and Africa, where the Church is growing fastest, expressing strong support for Church teachings.

The poll of self-identified Catholics in 12 countries showed high approval of Pope Francis, but split on subjects such as abortion, priests being able to marry and same-sex marriage.

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