President Barack Obama's decision on this issue may offer insights into his approach to policy making. Meanwhile, kudos and criticism come from different sides of the issue.
Politico: Catholics Cross With Obama Over Birth-Control Coverage
President Barack Obama and his senior aides were more than a little concerned before he announced his controversial decision requiring Catholic hospitals and universities to provide contraception in employee health plans. Obama -; in recognition of the issue's sensitivity to the church -; picked up the phone to personally break the news to two influential Catholic leaders: New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan and Sister Carol Keehan, head of the largest Catholic health association in the country and a pivotal supporter of Obama's Affordable Care Act (Thrush, 2/2).
The Hill: Planned Parenthood Launches TV Ad Applauding Birth-Control Mandate
The Planned Parenthood Action Fund launched a TV ad Wednesday that praises the Obama administration for sticking to its requirement that insurance plans cover birth control without co-pays or deductibles starting this year. The final regulation, announced two weeks ago, created an uproar because it forces religiously affiliated hospitals and universities that serve the broader public to comply within one year. Many of those institutions already cover birth control, and a majority of women told pollsters they approve of the no-cost mandate (Pecquet, 2/1).
Minneapolis Star Tribune: Birth Control Benefit Rule Riles Minnesota's Catholic Bishops
Minnesota's Catholic bishops are joining a nationwide protest against a new federal rule requiring faith-based groups to provide birth control and other reproductive services in health care coverage for employees. In a letter addressed to Catholic parishioners and read by priests at masses this past weekend, Twin Cities Archbishop John Nienstedt writes that the Obama administration "has cast aside the First Amendment to the Constitution ... denying to Catholics our nation's first and most fundamental freedom, that of religious liberty. ... And as a result, unless the rule is overturned, we Catholics will be compelled either to violate our consciences or to drop health coverage for our employees (and suffer the penalties for doing so)" (French, 2/1).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.