Religious Protests Continue In Response To Obama Administration Birth Control Rule
The White House continues to defend its new insurance coverage rule, which requires religiously affiliated nonprofit groups to provide free birth control coverage to women. Also in the news, Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is considered to be on the GOP short list for vice president, introduced legislation Tuesday that would vastly expand the opt-out ability of religious or faith-based employers.
Reuters: White House Defends Birth Control Rule Against Religious Protest
The White House on Tuesday defended a new federal rule requiring religiously affiliated nonprofit groups to provide free birth control coverage to women, as opponents ratcheted up pressure to alter the provision. ... "While there are those who take issue with the decision, millions and millions of Americans -- American women will have access to preventive services, as they should," White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at a briefing. "The president concurs in the decision," he added (Morgan, 1/31).
The Atlanta Journal Constitution: Catholics Upset By Federal Health Insurance Mandate
Atlanta Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory is urging area Catholics to press their elected officials to reverse a federal mandate that requires church-affiliated institutions to offer health coverage that includes birth control services. On Sunday, area priests read a letter to parishioners during masses, in which Gregory called the decision a "direct attack on our religious freedom and our First Amendment rights." "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)," Gregory said in the letter. "The administration's sole concession was to give our institutions one year to comply (Poole, 2/1).
Fox News (Video): Holy War Over Health Care Law? Obama Angers Catholic Leaders
While President Obama will deliver another speech on the economy Wednesday in Northern Virginia to keep the focus on jobs, Catholic leaders across the country are warning another issue may blow up in his face come November. Catholics are fired up over new rules implementing Obama's health care reform law forcing Catholic universities, hospitals, and charities to provide insurance for their employees covering contraception -- even though that violates church teachings. ... In an extraordinary move this past weekend, New York Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan and other archbishops throughout the nation had their priests read letters denouncing the Obama administration policy from the pulpit at Sunday Mass (Henry, 1/31).
CBS: White House Defends Birth Control Coverage Policy As Conservatives Push Back
White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters today that the policy decision was made after "very careful consideration" of the concerns of religious groups. President Obama and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius believe the policy "strikes the appropriate balance" between protecting religious freedoms and providing women with access to preventive health services, Carney said (Condon, 1/31).
Politico: Rubio Jumps Into Birth Control Dispute
Amid growing rancor between the Catholic hierarchy and the White House, Republican rising star Sen. Marco Rubio is pushing a bill that takes a swipe at the Obama administration's stance on expanding access to birth control. The Florida senator, widely considered on the short list for the GOP vice presidential pick, introduced legislation Tuesday that would vastly expand the ability of religious or faith-based employers to opt out of a health reform law requirement that health plans cover all FDA-approved contraceptives without any co-pay. The administration had offered a narrow exemption to religious organizations, which the U.S.Conference of Catholic Bishops said was unacceptable (Millman, 1/31).