New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan told NBC News that the church would have been a “cheerleader” for Obamacare if it didn’t exclude undocumented immigrants and unborn babies.
One of the most influential Catholic leaders in the country, Dolan said Friday that certain aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act kept the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops from embracing the law.
"We've been asking for reform in healthcare for a long time. So we were kind of an early supporter in this," Dolan told "Meet the Press" in an interview that aired Sunday.
"Where we started bristling and saying, 'Uh-oh, first of all this isn't comprehensive, because it's excluding the undocumented immigrant and it's excluding the unborn baby,' so we began to bristle at that," he said.
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Catholic bishops are against the healthcare mandate that requires employers to provide contraceptive coverage to women.
"So that's when we began to worry and draw back and say, 'Mr. President, please, you're really kind of pushing aside some of your greatest supporters here. We want to be with you, we want to be strong. And if you keep doing this, we're not going to be able to be one of your cheerleaders,'" Dolan said. "And that sadly is what happened."
Dolan said employers need the option to refuse coverage due to moral objections.
When asked about the sweeping legalization of gay marriage across the country Dolan said the Church may be fighting a losing battle against Hollywood and politicians, but it hasn’t given up.
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"I think maybe we've been out-marketed, sometimes. We've been caricatured as being anti-gay," he said. "When you have forces like Hollywood, when you have forces like politicians, when you have forces like some opinion-molders that are behind it, it's a tough battle."