Obama Compromises On Birth Control Rule

President Obama has conceded to religious leaders outraged over a new health care policy regarding contraceptives, offering a compromise Friday.


President Obama has conceded to religious leaders outraged over a new health care policy regarding contraceptives, offering a compromise Friday.

"Religious liberty will be protected," Obama said in a press conference, announcing a compromise that shifted the burden from religious-affiliated employers to their insurance companies.

At the center of controversy over the past few weeks was a new policy scheduled to be implemented in August as part of the Affordable Care Act. Preventative services for women, which includes contraceptives, will be mandatory for employers to include in their health care plans, and must be covered without charging a co-pay or deductible.

"Religous or not (women) should have that option so I think that's a good thing," Colorado Springs resident Tammy Levy said.

In January, the administration announced that exemptions to the new law would not be made for employers at religious-affiliated institutions, outraging many in the religious community who saw the move as too much government overreach into matters of the church, as well as forcing employers to go against their moral conscience.
Churches were exempted, but organizations such as universities and hospitals were required to comply.

Under the amended law, which Obama elaborated on Friday, religious organizations will not be required to provide contraceptive coverage, pay for it, or refer employees to places that would offer it. The onus will be placed on the employers' insurance companies, who will be required to offer women contraceptive coverage directly and free of charge if their employer will not.

"I think it was a step in the right direction. I'm not sure it should be mandated by anyone that anyone should have to provide that," Springs resident Ebony Kolozsy said.

The White House is adamant that they are not abandoning their position that all women should have guaranteed access to free preventative care, including birth control, and will continue to make it mandatory for all but religious employers to offer it.

"No woman's health should depend on who she is or where she works, or how much money she makes. Every woman should be in control of the decisions that affect her own health. Period," Obama said Friday.

The White House hopes Obama's compromise will quell the firestorm that has erupted over the last week. GOP presidential candidates wasted no time turning the policy into an election issue: Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum both called the measure an assault on religion. House Speaker John Boehner threatened legislative action.

It was flawless timing for Republicans, who found themselves struggling to downplay positive economic news in the wake of better-than-anticipated unemployment and job-creation numbers released in January. The economy has long been seen as Obama's Achilles heel going into the presidential election. The contraceptive policy gave the GOP a chance to pivot from the economy onto social issues, with cries of First Amendment infringement appeasing a base largely disenchanted with their presidential prospects.

"In imposing this requirement the federal government has drifted dangerously beyond its constitutional boundaries encroaching on religious freedom in a manner that affects millions of Americans and harms some of our nation's most vital institutions," Boehner said earlier in the week.

Senate Democrats blasted Republicans Wednesday for turning contraception into an ideological battle.

"Women in this country are tired of being treated like a political football by Republicans in Congress who have tried continually and are continuing to try to take away their benefits--to take away their rights," Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said.

"We want to make sure that the religious freedom of all Americans is protected and that means the women who work for institutions which serve the general public," Boxer added. "It's medicine--and women deserve their medicine."

Obama addressed the political circus surrounding the policy in his speech Friday.

"I understand some folks in Washington want to treat this as another political wedge issue. But it shouldn't be. I certainly never saw it that way. This is an issue where people of good will on both sides of the debate have been sorting through some very complicated questions."

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  • by Voice of Reason Location: C/S on Feb 13, 2012 at 06:21 AM
    I just love the way the Embarrassment in Office states that "it'll be free". Someone explain to me how the federal gov't can force a private company to do anything? What amazes me are there are still idiots out there that actually believe that what he is doing is good for the country.
  • by COS Resident Location: COS on Feb 11, 2012 at 08:27 AM
    Much ado about nothing. Employers will be dropping their health insurance plans in droves once their insurance company's rate skyrockets when Obamacare kicks in. Then the problem will be yours to wrestle with.
  • by Colorado Location: C.S on Feb 11, 2012 at 07:12 AM
    Jazzcat and my02 you are so right. I can't believe he's now dictating to a PRIVATE enterprize what they can and cannot do. I believe he has succeeded in class warefare and now is working toward religious division in this country.
  • by Kevin Location: Colorado Springs on Feb 11, 2012 at 06:50 AM
    Hey do us guys get free condoms? If not this law is sexist!
  • by Kevin Location: Colorado Springs on Feb 11, 2012 at 06:49 AM
    This really isn't that big of deal. Why? Because I firmly believe the US Supreme Court will squash this law this summer as it's unconstitutional to begin with. I am amazed our nitwit President didn't see this coming or maybe he did. Maybe he wants us fighting about this while he and his band of traitors (Democratic Party/AFL/CIO and the like) are doing something else.
  • by jazzcat on Feb 11, 2012 at 06:22 AM
    I see the 'girl power' crowd is still arguing the wrong issue. No one is saying you don't have the right to take birth control. Heck, you can wear it as jewelry for all I car. The issue IS an organization being forced to pay for your choice. If an employer offers a benefits package that excludes birth control, Viagra, or placebos; you have the option to seek a supplemental plan or look for other employment. If the pill means that much to those who work for these institutions, they can purchase it out-of-pocket from any number of pharmacies. The whole 'right to choose' angle is only being used because one group wants something for free.
  • by my.02 on Feb 11, 2012 at 06:20 AM
    Do you all not see what he just did? He forced a private insurance organization to give something out for free...what about their rights? He was right to move this from the Church, but, if you dont see what's really going on, open your eyes
  • by Jim Location: Colorado Springs on Feb 10, 2012 at 05:58 PM
    Obama compromises nothing! This Obama administration is intent on taking more and more of our constitutional liberties away. The federal government has no right to infringe on our religeous rights.
  • by Cinnamon on Feb 10, 2012 at 01:12 PM
    Why are you people still on about the contraceptive deception? It's NOT about birth control or abortion alone. This is about YOUR liberties being trampled upon. The Amendments give US certain rights. WE should know what these rights are so when THEY (the GOVT) tries to take them away we can say NO. Anyone who thinks this doesn't affect them, I have one question: What Amendment should you be concerned about then? One day they all will be compromised if you aren't knowledgeable in what you have in the first place.
  • by HEAR YE,HEAR YE Location: Colorado on Feb 10, 2012 at 01:01 PM
    The last I heard is that churches do not pay for anything!! They are tax exempt; or have you forgotten that! Let's see they would rather watch a mother die giving birth to her 4th child; leaving her husband alone to raise their other 3 children! I do not for one minute believe that that is the good Lord's wishes! God gave man the wisdom and intelligence to help those in need. Wouldn't having a contraception pill to take end this needless tragedy for this family? I can this be for the good?? I guess my beliefs are much different than most. Women for years and years have taken the back seat to all kinds of ridicule and blame for unwanted pregnancy. SEX is an old as time itself; and promiscuity is not going away as much as we pray it will; it won't. I believe it you have been raised with values, morales and certain standards that even if that temptation is put in your face; you will walk away from it. So again, what are you all so afraid of? That is truly what this whole dispute is all about. IT IS FEAR!!
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