Looks like the long national nightmare will soon be over. President Obama’s Administration is ready to offer an accommodation on the birth control law that would require Catholic employees and hospitals to provide birth control to their employees and patients.
Just in from the Washington Post:
Women will be guaranteed coverage for contraceptive services, but would have to seek the coverage directly from their insurance companies if their employers object to birth control on religious grounds.
Republicans are vowing to reverse President Barack Obama’s new policy on birth control, blasting the rule that religious schools and hospitals must provide contraceptive coverage for their employees as an attack on religious freedom. (Feb. 8)
Similar compromises are in place in Hawaii and several other states, but the White House had not included one when it proposed the health-care law requiring contraceptive coverage for all women. After a firestorm of opposition from Catholic church officials and other groups, the Obama administration said it would seek to modify its position.
President Obama is scheduled to announce the change Friday during an appearance before reporters in the White House at 12:15 p.m. He is trying to head off a growing political problem, after his decision Jan. 20 to grant only a narrower exemption to the health-care rule.
Also from the NY Times:
Administration officials called the expected announcement an “accommodation” that they said sought to demonstrate respect for religious beliefs. It will be similar to the path taken in several other states — particularly Hawaii — that have similar rules.
But administration officials also acknowledged that it would likely not mollify the Catholic bishops who have waged war against the rule or, for that matter, Congressional Republicans and candidates on the presidential campaign trail who have joined the fight. At most, the compromise could potentially help President Obama shore up support among wavering Democrats, who have also expressed doubt about the rule, along with more liberal religious organizations and charities, who oppose the rule but not as vehemently as the Catholic leadership.
Let’s see if this is acceptable to the Bishops. I would say that other Presidents might not have even considered a compromise, so I think this is a step in the right direction.