The battle between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration over a new health care mandate is continuing to heat up. Last week, we told you about some Republican responses. Now, we're starting to see Democrats come out against the church's reaction to the new regulations that would require Christian leaders to violate their conscience. On Sunday, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley (D) accused Catholic leaders of "hyperventilating" over the new regulation.
In an appearance on CNN's "State of the Union," O'Malley went on to say that he believes church officials are essentially going too far in their opposition and rhetoric.
"I am Catholic. And I think...there’s been a little bit too much hyperventilating over this issue…this is not about abortion," he said. "It’s about covering contraception as part of the health care coverage, mandatory, basic coverage."
Host Candy Crowley pushed him a bit on this statement, as she mentioned the notion that the government will now be telling the Catholic Church how to handle its health care coverage. O'Malley responded:
"Well, there is an exemption for the -- for churches themselves. The exemption does not necessarily extend to institutions like hospitals or universities that employ people of all faiths. But these same rules apply in countries like Italy which have overwhelming numbers of Catholics. And yet we did not see the reaction in those countries to these sorts of things."
Watch this dialogue, below:
White House spokesperson Jay Carney has made similar claims, clearly showcasing that the Obama administration is doubling down on its decision. Last week, Carney said:
"There was extensive and careful consideration as this policy was developed and a decision was made. And the issue here is we want to be sure women, all women, have access to good health care [...]
We want to work with organizations for the next year to help them deal with the implementation of the policy but the decision has been made, and it was made after careful consideration."
The Catholic Church is pledging to fight the regulation. Anthony Picarello, general counsel for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has called the White House's information regarding the matter "misleading and wrong." Additionally, he has said that the bishops will do everything they can to overturn the mandate.
"That means legislation, litigation and public advocacy," he said. "All options are on the table."