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      Amarillo Bishop upset by birth control mandate

      The federal government has issued a mandate to require church-affiliated institutions to cover free birth control for employees.

      That has bishops nationwide urging parishioners to protest and pray over their decision.

      Amarillo Bishop Patrick Zurek gave us his reasons for being upset about the mandate, but the C.E.O. of Haven Health Clinics doesn't think it's a bad idea.

      America's bishops have said they won't comply with a requirement for health coverage of services like contraception, abortion-inducing drugs, or sterilization.

      Bishop Zurek says the executive order that came from Health and Human Services is basically telling them they can no longer follow their conscience.

      "We can no longer freely practice our faith, that we have to let the government define what it is we believe, how practice it, and that's the issue."

      He says the issue is ultimately one of religious liberty and for the past two years the government has no longer spoken of freedom of religion, but freedom of worship, which does not follow the wording of the constitution.

      "Telling us that we have to provide something, which is totally contrary to our moral stance, is a violation of conscience. Conscience has always been supreme in the church."

      Haven Health Clinic C.E.O. Ron Barwick says the mandate is a good thing.

      "The thing is, unplanned pregnancies are not good for anybody, that's what causes abortions, and the ability to get birth control without a co-pay reduces the barriers between people and birth control."

      Barwick says it's in the government's best interest to make sure people don't have unplanned pregnancies because they cost a lot of money and because of later problems that can occur like poverty and crime.

      Houses of worship are exempt, but the mandate does apply to non-profit institutions like church-affiliated hospitals, colleges, and social services agencies.