Madison Catholic Diocese Offers Contraceptive Coverage

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MADISON - Under a new state law, the Madison Catholic Diocese must offer birth control in its health insurance plan.

But a diocesan spokesman warns employees who use it could be fired. Brent King says contraceptives go against Catholic teachings:

"And with the mandate that all of these policies need to have contraception coverage in it, it's kind of in the face of directly in the face of what we believe," King said.

The law, which took effect Jan. 1, requires all employers to cover contraceptives in their health care plans. Self-insured policies are exempt, but the diocese says they cannot afford one. "To self insure is not feasible," said King.

Meantime, Planned Parenthood officials are applauding the new law: "27 other states have regulations that insure fairness in prescription drug plans," said spokeswoman Nicole Safar. "This is a pretty common sense basic policy."

Still, people who work for the diocese must sign a morals clause agreeing to abide by Catholic teachings. King says they would only fire someone who is especially vocal about using birth control:

"No one would ever be terminated for sinning. We're all sinners. It would take a very public defiance of what the church believes and teaches for someone to ever get terminated."

A spokesperson for the Cousins Center in Milwaukee tells me they also plan to follow state law, but hope their employees follow the teachings of the church.