For-profit employers would be barred from using religious beliefs to deny contraception coverage or other federally mandated health services to their employees under federal legislation introduced Wednesday.
Senate Democrats say they will advance legislation to override the Supreme Court's recent ruling allowing some companies with religious objections to avoid the contraceptives requirement in President Barack Obama's health care law.
The Obama administration said Wednesday that the Supreme Court's ruling in favor of the religious claims of Hobby Lobby and other for-profit businesses supports the government's position in separate, ongoing disputes with religious-oriented nonprofit organizations.
In an interview released Thursday, Pope Francis said the Catholic Church has gotten itself wrapped up in "small things, in small-minded rules", when it comes to the church's hard-line aversion to homosexuality, contraception and abortion. If the church does not change its ways, the Pope says, "the moral edifice of the Church is likely to fall like a house of cards."
"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods," the Pope added. “But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time.”