President Obama today answered blistering criticism of the 3-week old policy forcing religious employers to pay for employees' birth control. Speaking from the White House, Obama said, "Religious liberty will be protected and a law that requires free preventative care will not discriminate against women."
A statement from the White House explains how it will work: "The policy ... ensures that if a woman works for religious employers with objections to providing contraceptive services as part of its health plan, the religious employer will not be required to provide contraception coverage, but her insurance company will be required to offer contraceptive care free of charge."
At least one leading Catholic organization supported the new accommodation, as did Planned Parenthood on the other side of the spectrum. Still, not all Catholic groups are pleased and conservatives continue to lambast the president. The original rule was called an unconscionable violation of the Catholic faith.
Does this accommodation change things? Will today's compromise quiet the political storm?
Jamie Court, President of Consumer Watchdog, a consumer rights advocacy organization. Court is also author of “Corporateering: How Corporate Power Steals Your Personal Freedom . . .And What You Can Do About It”
Amy Ridenour, Chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research