In journalism, a “standing hed” is a headline that can be used over and over because the event it describes is recurring. My favorite standing hed is “Pope Prays for Peace,” but the New York Times this week had one that is becoming equally familiar: “Bishops Reject Birth Control Compromise.”
The main point of the story was that the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had rejected the Obama administration’s latest tinkering with its mandate that companies include contraception in their employee health plans. The revamped rule would spare religious colleges and hospitals, including self-insured institutions, from having to pay for services that offended their religious beliefs; instead, the tab would be picked up by insurance companies or third-party administrators.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan, the head of the Bishops Conference, complained that under the latest version of the rule, “ministries may yet be forced to fund and facilitate such morally illicit activities."
So the church still won’t take “mostly yes” for an answer when it comes to religious employers, and the dispute over coverage for religious employers continues. (My colleague Jon Healey has some thoughts about how Congress could have avoided the controversy.)