Obama announces contraception compromise
February 10th, 2012
12:23 PM ET

Obama announces contraception compromise

[Updated at 12:23 p.m. ET] President Barack Obama announced a compromise Friday in the dispute over whether to require full contraception insurance coverage for female employees at religiously affiliated institutions.

Under the new plan, religiously affiliated universities and hospitals will not be forced to offer contraception coverage to their employees. Insurers will be required, however, to offer complete coverage free of charge to any women who work at such institutions.

Female employees at churches themselves will have no guarantee of any contraception coverage - a continuation of current law.

There will be a one-year transition period for religious organizations after the policy formally takes effect on August 1.

"No woman's health should depend on who she is or where she works or how much money she makes." Obama said at the White House. But "the principle of religious liberty" is also at stake. "As a citizen and as a Christian, I cherish this right."

[Updated at 10:11 a.m. ET] The Obama administration's contraception compromise will expand the religious exemption for religiously affiliated universities and hospitals, a source tells CNN Friday. Individuals will be able to get contraceptive coverage directly from insurers.

[Initial post, 8:30 a.m. ET] The White House probably will announce a compromise Friday on a controversial rule requiring religiously affiliated employers to provide full contraception coverage to women, an administration source said.

News of the possible compromise comes after days of escalating partisan and ideological rhetoric over the pending rule, which many Catholic leaders and other religious groups oppose.

As currently written, the rule would exempt churches, but hospitals and schools with religious affiliations would have to comply. The new policy is set to go into effect on August 1, though religious groups would have a yearlong extension to implement the rule.

The administration has been examining laws in 28 states that have similar coverage requirements, senior administration sources said this week. Two sources have told CNN that the administration is particularly interested in the Hawaii model, in which female employees of religious institutions can purchase contraceptive coverage directly from the insurer at the same price offered to employees of all other employers.

Another possible solution, one source has said, would be legislation allowing women employed by religiously affiliated employers to get contraceptive insurance from the exchanges created under Obama's sweeping health care reform rather than from their employer's insurer.

soundoff (146 Responses)
  1. Scottish Mama

    It is the right that claims it is okay for them to tell a union that they cannot have unions, but must let others join without joining unions, but when it comes to women being able to make an adult choice they refuse to let it happen in their churches.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. marla

    Sandy is certainly on the right track. No employee is being forced to do anything. All employers should offer health care....where would it stop? not cover amputatiions as that disagrees with religious doctrine? Insist that employees go through months and months of cancer therapies, when there is little to no chance of recovery...as the religious doctrine says "life must be preserved" ? Get the politics out of the confessional! As an employer, they need to offer complete health care.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jim Bob

    Attack on religion? Maybe... It's about time though. Religion has been attacking "heathens" and "pagans" and "infidels" for a long time. It's payback time.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  4. sam

    This is a freedom of religion issue.

    MSNBC is reporting that " it is expected that the bishops will not be happy with the President's announcement" , A compromise is something that both sides agree to.

    This is probably not over

    February 10, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  5. Christine

    @cw “Faux outrage is hilarious”, you are hilarious! With the internet there are so many different ways to get the news! All you can do mock Fox News; I guess that is your cause in life, to mock Fox News! Enjoy! You could show proof of "it's a shame that rules like this have actually been in place for a while" but your job in life is to mock Fox News!

    February 10, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. Cory

    Religion is so ridiculous... Always getting in the way of progress. They fight this now just as they've resisted change many, many times in the past but eventually (even if it's years down the road) they will fold. Resisting this is 100% irrational and in order to hang on to followers religion is always eventually forced to give up on it's more idiotic beliefs. Too slowly for my tastes but bad habits do die hard. Think of how much more advanced civilization would be if religion wasn't there trying to slow us down...

    February 10, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Christine

      Religion is like politics, it’s all about POWER!

      February 10, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joe M.

    The compromise is political and temporary. The authoritarian ideology that Obama believes in remains.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Scottish Mama

    Viagra the *legal* choice of men in catholic church. The women can be subjected to prolonged hard men but not to the prevention of pregnancy.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      If the Catholic Church insists on banning the medication necessary to prevent pregnancy, they should ban the medication that could help get them that way.
      The men could suffer with silent limpidity, if woman have to suffer with constant labor pains...

      February 10, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      And if I see another commercial with a couple in separate bathtubs in the middle if a field...
      Why doesn't Farmer Brown SAY something....?

      February 10, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      @banasy lol. I think if they stay in separate tubs pregnancy will be prevented.lol But as we know, you can get wrinkled and have shrinkage.

      February 10, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      If the water is that cold, sure...lol

      February 10, 2012 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. Scottish Mama

    It is an election year, the fight about abortion, religious beliefs, and contraception are game on. How about we vote on issues that really matter: Debt, wealthy taxes, poor being fed, veterans, Debt, social security being replenished from being pilaged, medicare, Debt. If we refuse to buy into this and keep focused on what is really ailling us we may come out of this and have a bright future, but as usual we will look at the shiny things the government holds up so we loose sit of the ball.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      You forgot to mention Debt.

      February 10, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Scottish Mama

      Good morning banasy,lol, I did forget foreclosures, which also includes more debt.lol

      February 10, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Hey, Mama, good to see you here.
      We've missed you.

      February 10, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  10. Scottish Mama

    Seems like ages, at least a week.

    February 10, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  11. Robert

    Why is this stressed as a religious issue? If you add up all the rules and dictates of all religions you get lots of things that religion is concerned about (even including revenge, vengeance, retribution, etc.). But a law that prevents me from stoning somone in the street is not usually considered an affront on religion (even though it clearly is since it may be condoned in certain contexts by certain religious doctrines). The point is that this contraception issue is no more a religious issue than almost any other law since they all articulate somewhere with religious belief. This whole isssue is being framed incorrectly. The question shouldn't be whether or not this infringes on religious freedom (which it, and all other laws do) but rather: Is it a good and reasonable course of action? Does this give us results that we want? Does this increase or decrease the amont that organisms on the planet are experiencing pain and suffering? What are the longterm costs and benefits? Does the Omnipotent, Omniscient, Prayer-Granting, Creator Of The Non-Expaning/Non-evolving Universe care? (Just kidding on that last one 🙂

    February 10, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  12. Nicole

    If anyone should have insurance requirements it should be organizations (hospitals, colleges, welfare agencies) that receive public funding. Like another person said- should a Jehovah's witness organization be allowed to purchase health insurance that doesn't cover blood transfusions?

    Seriously, no one has to use the coverage if they don't want to. But as a future nurse, in a state where over half the hospitals are catholic, and virtually all receive Medicaid/Medicare I do not believe they should be able to impose their religion on me. They cannot discriminate against religion in hiring, the same rule should apply to health insurance (and I think the right to NOT be religious is equally important a right as the right to be religious)

    February 10, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Duckit

    Just another step toward Obamas dream of a socialist United States Of America.

    February 10, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
  14. Joi Gibson

    If you want government out of religion then keep religion out of government. No more questions about the President's religion or any candidate's religion. There should be no lobbying of Catholic bishops on Capital Hill. However, that is not going to happen. So, IMHO, the church is being hypocritical. The more I hear these so-called political analysts and their take on this issue-government infringing upon the Church – the angrier I get. And where was the Church when their priests were molesting children? And what gives mostly elderly men who have never been in relationships the right to tell a woman what she can and can not do with her body? I repeat, you do not want government in religion, then keep religion out of government. You hear that Rick Santorum. You cannot have it both ways otherwise thy name is hypocrisy.

    February 10, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. bobcat (in a hat) ©

    If a person chooses to use birth control, it is nobody elses business. No religion, no person, no enti ty.

    February 10, 2012 at 11:23 am | Report abuse |
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