WASHINGTON President Barack Obama said Friday that a revamped birth control policy will both protect religious liberties and protect women’s access to contraception.
Speaking at the White House, Obama announced changes to the policy that has generated criticism from religious groups and others who say it would force them to violate their faith.
Under the changes, religious employers will not have to cover birth control for their employees. Instead, the government will demand that insurance companies be directly responsible for providing free contraception.
Obama’s shift is an attempt to satisfy both sides of a deeply sensitive debate. Women will still get guaranteed access to birth control without co-pays or premiums no matter where they work, a provision of Obama’s health-care law that he insisted must remain. But religious universities and hospitals that see contraception as an unconscionable violation of their faith can refuse to cover it, and insurance companies will then have to step in to do so.
The leader of a Catholic organization and a prominent women’s group both expressed initial support for the changes.
Read tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.
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