Area Catholics react to call for action on birth control policy

Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware are asking the faithful to speak out against a federal policy that will require almost all employers to cover contraception under health-insurance policies.

At Sunday Mass, priests in Philadelphia and across the region asked parishioners to contact their senators and representatives to protest the policy.

Pablo Lopez Polar, a parishioner at Our Mother of Good Counsel in Bryn Mawr, said he plans to do just that.

“We shouldn’t have to be, as Catholics, forced to pay for something that our belief is against,” Polar said.

But reaction, even among the faithful, is mixed. St. Barbara’s parishioner Karen King agrees with the federal policy, which would require even Catholic-affiliated hospitals and universities to offer free birth control.

“I won’t be making the call,” King said. “I really think if you don’t want any more children or you want to control having them, I think that health insurance should cover that.”

The office of U.S. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania has experienced an increase in constituent calls on the issue recently.

Last week, Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania signed on as co-sponsor of a federal bill that would exempt religious organizations from the rule.

In an op-ed in USA Today Monday, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius defended the policy, writing that religious organizations that primarily employ people of their own faith are exempt.

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