Obama Contraception Rule Continues To Fuel Arguments
Conservative women opposed to the birth control mandate are pushing to reframe the debate around religious liberty. Meanwhile, a range of organizations, including pediatricians, labor unions and charities that fight birth defects, oppose an amendment by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., that would allow employers to exclude any insurance benefit they deemed immoral.
National Journal: Public Divided Over Birth-Control Coverage
The issue of contraception has ignited a series of conflicts in recent weeks. The confrontation escalated in January when Obama announced a policy that initially would have required religiously affiliated employers like Catholic universities or hospitals (though not churches themselves) to fund birth control at no cost if they provide health insurance to their workers. After a backlash, Obama unveiled a plan to require the insurance companies, rather than the religiously affiliated employers, to fund coverage for contraception at no additional cost to the worker (Brownstein, 2/28).
Politico: Quiet Fade Out For Obama's Faith Council
His faith under attack, his contraception decision savaged on all sides, President Barack Obama could use backup in the religious community right now. But three years into his presidency, Obama's marquee council of faith advisers has gone dark — a little-noticed postscript for a panel that he rolled out with fanfare and high expectations during his first weeks in office but ended up playing only a limited role in West Wing deliberations. The president's first Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships delivered a 163-page report in March 2010 and then disbanded (Brown, 2/28).
The Hill: Conservative Women Opposed To Birth Control Mandate Push To Reframe Debate
Conservatives — including conservative women — are pushing back hard against charges that opposition to the White House's contraception mandate is an attack on women. Democrats and supporters of the birth-control mandate are framing the debate around women's health. They've seized on the catchphrase "Where are the women?" following a House hearing that featured an all-male panel of witnesses testifying against the White House policy. Women who oppose the mandate are taking on an increasingly public role as the right tries to refocus the debate around religious liberty (Baker, 2/27).
Politico Pro: Heritage Features Women Who Oppose Contraception Rule
The Heritage Foundation agrees with Rep. Nancy Pelosi — women have been silenced in the debate about the contraception coverage mandate. Of course, the Heritage panelists are talking about different women. The ones who think the issue is religious freedom — not the ones who think the contraception rule is a good idea. "They're silenced, they're intimidated," Rep. Ann Marie Buerkle (R-N.Y.) said Monday during an all-female panel discussion of the new health care reform rule (Feder, 2/27).
The New York Times: Democrats See Benefits In Battle On Contraception
Democratic leaders, who set the Senate floor schedule, plan to hold a vote this week on a measure offered by Senator Roy Blunt, Republican of Missouri, that would in effect reduce insurance coverage of contraception, by allowing religious institutions not to cover it in the health plans they offer employees. Democrats see the vote as a way to embarrass Republicans — especially those up for re-election in moderate states like Maine and Massachusetts — and believe that the battle may alienate women and moderates from the Republican Party (Steinhauer and Cooper, 2/27).
National Journal: Groups Oppose Blunt's Contraceptive Amendment
Pediatricians, labor unions, charities that fight birth defects, and other groups came out in unsurprising opposition on Monday to an amendment proposed by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., that would allow employers to exclude any insurance benefit that they deem immoral. The Senate is expected to vote sometime this week on Blunt's proposal, a vote that almost certainly will kill it. The newest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll shows that 49 percent of adults support President Obama’s plan to have health insurance companies pay for contraception coverage in cases where religiously affiliated employers object; 40 percent oppose it (Fox and Sanger-Katz, 2/27).