The discussion on Morning Joe for the past two mornings has resulted in a lot of thoughtful Facebook comments from Morning Joe viewers and blog readers.
Below is a sampling -- a lot of those who weighed in don't agree with Joe.
If a Catholic hospital insists on obeying Catholic rules, you don't have to go to a Catholic hospital. Most hospitals are not Catholic. Thank goodness. If you're a Catholic and you don't like the rules, ignore them, or join a different church. --Charlotte Lawrence
If you were hired by Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis as a nurse, custodian, receptionist, etc., their health insurance policy to employees doesn't cover birth control. Even though they are paid by people of different and/or no faith. They take money from everyone, but only provide their employees services that match the tenants of their beliefs. Institutions run by a church should not be exempt. Only the church itself. --Nick Valentine
There are many that work for Catholic hospitals etc., that are not members of the Catholic faith. I disagree that if they don't like the policies of these organizations, then they should quit. Try finding enough Catholic nurses to fulfill the need. The same argument was used against the waitress that started the ban on cigarette smoking in bars and restaurants in California. The courts determined that non smoking employees could not be discriminated against because they objected to their work conditions. All Obama ruled on is that the Catholic church is not above the law and may not discriminate against employees that wish health insurance that covers contraception and sterilization. Should a woman who has cervical or ovarian cancer be discriminated against because the Catholic faith does not agree with hysterectomies or cancerous ovaries be excised? --Leonard Smith
The government has no right to tell any religion what it can preach, teach, or believe in its churches. However, if an organized religion decides to expand into the health care business, the government has every right to demand that it conform to the rules and regulations applicable to that business. If a religion cannot abide by such regulations, it should get out of the business, not ignore the rules. --Gail Zamarchi
Based on how you are interpreting this, Jehovah Witnesses should be able to claim an exemption from providing transfusions of any kind due to their religious beliefs. Other groups that may have certain beliefs regarding medical treatment should be able to claim an exemption as well. So where does it end? The only fair and constitutional thing to do is to rule there will be no exemptions. Even for religious beliefs. As a person that works with many non-profits on a daily basis, I feel far too often these groups want to have it both ways. They want the advantages of being a NP but don't want to follow the rules that come with that designation. They consistently violate regulatory authority and are able to get away with it. --dclgirl123
When the topic of gay marriage came into this segment this morning I found Joe & Mika's thoughts totally missed the mark, and Rev. Sharpton's were right on. My husband and I would have put it this way: "The Catholic Church knows that it would never have to marry my husband and I, but what they want here is the right to fire me if I come to work married to a man on Monday morning. They want the right to determine what their employees do after work and on weekends, and they want to interject themselves into the private conversations they have with their doctors. That includes whether a man can get a vasectomy and a woman gets her tubes tied." --Lester Leavitt
To include reproductive health benefits in an insurance package does not impose a requirement to use them-- just like I don't have to use a statin drug and choose to use an over the counter compound instead. Catholics have the right to free will and to follow their conscience. The government is not interfering with this. Rather the Catholic Church and others are trying to impose their will on women-- Catholic women included-- who in all good conscience choose to use contraceptives etc. --Mary Kelly O'Donnell
In order to be a true equal society women's health care of any nature should not be open for any forum of debate, but rather left to each individual woman to choose in the privacy of her own comfort. Shall we insist that men's reproductive rights and availability to full and complete spectrum health care be the decision of church or the supreme court? Of course not. --Teresa M. Maples
This is not about faith it's about money. Right now the church provides access to these services for the women who work for their hospitals and universities as long as the women are willing to pay for the cost from their own pockets. however there are thousands of women who work for these institutions who can't afford to pay for these services out of pocket. and lets be clear these services do not include the morning after pill or abortion services at all. but if the church suddenly had to start paying the yearly cost of $600 per female employee that could run into millions of dollars a year. that is the only reason the church opposes this idea. its all about money and that's the way it always is when it comes to womens health. -Michelle L Adams