Legal Challenges Likely Next Step As Flap Over Birth Control Rule Continues
News outlets report on the clash between the Obama administration and Catholic leaders.
Politico Pro: Birth Control Mandate Faces Legal Challenges
The courts will be the next battleground for the fight over the health care reform requirement that employers include free birth control in employee health plans. Two federal suits have already been filed by religious universities — one in D.C., the other in Colorado — contending that the rule violates their religious liberties (Feder, 2/7).
The Hill: Obama Administration Faces Backlash Over Rule Ordering Birth Control Coverage
GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney launched a petition on Monday against the mandate, arguing it was an attack by Obama on "religious liberty." Conservatives, including Catholics such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), are attacking the administration for the decision. And now, nine months before the presidential election, the backlash is growing even among Obama supporters, who say the move was politically tone-deaf (Parnes, 2/6).
McClatchy / The Kansas City Star: Catholic Leaders Speak Out Against New Contraception Regulations
Lawmakers and politicians scrambled Monday to respond to a growing furor over the Obama administration's decision to require no-cost contraceptive insurance coverage — even in policies offered by religious employers. Over the weekend hundreds of thousands of Catholics, including many in the Kansas City area, heard church leaders denounce the plan revealed in late January by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, the former Kansas governor (Helling and Kraske, 2/7).
Newshour (video and script): Obama Administration, Catholic Leaders Clash Over Contraception Mandate
The new rule grew out of an IOM report last year that recommended a major expansion of birth control services to women. ... The IOM also said, expanded birth control services to women will cut down on the number of abortions and make women healthier. The Obama administration says 28 states already have similar mandates requiring contraceptive coverage. But some Catholic leaders say the states have broader exemptions than the new federal mandate (Bowser, 2/6).
WBUR: Following Rule, Boston Archdiocese Warns It May Drop Employee Health Coverage
[T]he Obama ruling would exempt churches, but Catholic schools, hospitals and organizations, such as Catholic Charities, would, after one year, have to cover many types of birth control, tubal ligations and medications that end pregnancies. ... Charlie McKinney is vice president at Thomas Moore, a Catholic college in Merrimack, N.H., with less than 100 students. McKinney says Catholics are focused now on reversing the ruling. But if the ruling stands, the college will consider dropping health insurance (Bebinger, 2/6).