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Catholic hospitals reject birth control compromise

WASHINGTON -- The nation's Catholic hospitals are rejecting President Barack Obama's compromise for providing birth control coverage to their women employees.

In a letter Friday to the government, the Catholic Health Association says the administration's proposal to have insurers bear the cost would be "unduly cumbersome" and "unlikely to adequately meet the religious liberty concerns" of its members.

The hospital group was a key ally of Obama's in the battle to win congressional approval of his health care overhaul, defying the opposition of church bishops. But it does not believe church-affiliated employers should have to provide birth control as a free preventive service, as the law requires.

The letter says the government should either broaden an exemption for religious employers, or pay directly for the birth control coverage.