Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- Catholic leaders of Syracuse are calling a law about contraception an attack on religious freedom.
Catholic institutions have been given an extra year – through August 1, 2013 – before they’re required to have their insurance plans cover the use of contraceptives.
All catholic employers would have to offer health insurance that pays for birth control or contraceptives. Saint Joseph’s Hospital is the biggest Catholic institution in Central New York, but the changes would also affect Catholic schools and charities. And although it sounds like a debate over birth control, a representative of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse says it really shouldn't be and people of all faiths should be angry that the government is forcing a religious entity to do something it doesn’t want to do.
“The Catholic Church upholds life and we will always uphold life. That is not the issue right now. The issue is the government should not mandate or force any religious entity to do something they believe is morally wrong,” said Danielle Cummings, spokesperson for the Catholic Diocese of Syracuse.
Bishop Robert Cunningham of Syracuse says Catholic institutions will not comply with the law, saying: "In so ruling, the administration has cast aside the first amendment to the constitution of the United States, denying to Catholics our nation’s first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty."
But according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, half of all pregnancies are unplanned. So women should have access to free birth control and contraceptives.
"I believe the decision of whether or not to use contraception should be left up to the individual, not her boss. Of course there needs to be a conscience consideration for organizations that are purely religious in nature and it's important to find a balance between the two,” Senator Charles Schumer said.
Most other non-religious institutions will have to begin offering free birth control and contraceptives this August.