Local Catholic leaders react to contraception compromise

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) – Local Catholic leaders, who took a firm stance against President Obama's original policy ensuring contraception coverage for all women, told NBC12 how they feel about Friday's compromise.

There are mixed reactions among local church leaders and parishioners but all seem to agree on one thing: if they're going to be ok with putting this policy in action, they need more information.

When it comes to this contraception compromise and the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, in many ways there are more questions than answers, according to Spokesman Steve Neill.

"I think it's a step in the right direction," he said. "Obviously, our voices were heard and there was some accommodation."

For some local parishioners we spoke to, the main concern now is, is that accommodation to have insurance companies rather than religious institutions pay for coverage, enough?

"I don't understand why, for instance, someone with religious convictions, who owns a business, would have to provide these services that they disagree with," wondered Tony Laschon, who goes to mass every Sunday.

For example, if the owners of a religious store didn't believe in contraception, they'd still have to offer coverage to employees. The exemption compromise doesn't apply to these kinds of employers if they're not run by the church.

"I don't understand why they shouldn't have the right to opt out of that requirement," Laschon said.

And that aversion to a mandate cuts to the core of the Diocese's argument, which is an argument that has them only calling this compromise a step in the right direction, not a solution.

"Had their right of conscience and religious convictions been taken from them, your next question being what's down the road," asked Neill.

NBC12 also checked in with Bon Secours, the Catholic based hospital system in our area. A spokesperson told us they are pleased with the White House announcement. They said it "protects the religious liberty and conscience rights of Catholic institutions."

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