Republicans cast the debate over mandatory coverage as one of religious freedom, while Democrats frame it as a matter of women's health.
The Washington Post: Birth Control As Election Issue? Why?
[E]lections have a way of becoming national conversations, often unwieldy ones. ... As is often the case in these matters, a variety of seemingly disparate issues get all tangled up -; the Commerce Clause and Catholic doctrine, religious freedom and the right to privacy, feminism and liberty and conscience -; at a time of economic uncertainty and vast demographic and societal transition (Gerhart, 2/20).
Los Angeles Times: Before Current Birth-Control Fight, Republicans Backed Mandates
Republicans have rushed to accuse the administration of an unprecedented attack on religious freedoms. None has been more forceful than former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who accused Obama of "a direct violation of the 1st Amendment." But years before the current partisan firestorm, GOP lawmakers and governors around the country, including Huckabee, backed similar mandates. Twenty-two states have laws or regulations that resemble, at least in part, the Obama administration's original rule. ... In six states, including Arkansas, those contraceptive mandates were signed by GOP governors (Geiger and Levey, 2/15).
Roll Call: Welcome Or Not, Back To Culture War
The problem, Republicans acknowledged, is their inability to keep the issue focused on religious freedoms, which some polling indicates plays well with independents and Catholic voters. But with the issue being increasingly viewed as a question of women's health and access to contraception, those same polls show Republicans taking criticism, particularly with women. If the issue is to work for the GOP, Republicans need to keep the focus on "the Obama administration's efforts to intervene into people's everyday lives," a GOP leadership aide said (Stanton, 2/21).
Politico: 2012: The Year Of 'Birth Control Moms'?
Will 2012 be the year of the "birth control moms"? Just a few weeks ago, the notion would have seemed far-fetched…But then Rick Santorum said states ought to have the right to outlaw the sale of contraception. And Susan G. Komen for the Cure yanked its funding for Planned Parenthood. And the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops teed off on President Barack Obama's contraception policy. And House Republicans invited a panel of five men -; and no women -; to debate the issue. And a prominent Santorum supporter pined for the days when "the gals" put aspirin "between their knees" to ward off pregnancy. Democratic strategist Celinda Lake says it's enough to "really irritate" independent suburban moms and "re-engage" young, single women who haven't tuned into the campaign so far (Kenen, 2/18).
The Associated Press/USA Today: Evangelicals Join Catholics In Opposing Birth Control Rule
A group of evangelical pastors on Monday joined Roman Catholic clergy who oppose an Obama administration requirement that employees of religiously affiliated businesses receive birth control coverage (2/20).
Boston Globe: Birth Control Splits GOP In New England
The roiling debate over coverage for birth control is fracturing New England Republicans, as some moderates in the GOP - particularly women - say they feel marginalized by the positions taken by Senators Scott Brown of Massachusetts and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire. The divisions point to the potential dangers for Brown as he seeks reelection in a state that is not as conservative as those represented by fellow GOP senators who are supporting a controversial health care bill in the Senate (Jan, 2/18).
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.