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Entries in Birth Control (19)

Wednesday
Mar212012

Paul Says He Prescribed Birth Control During Time as OB-GYN

Jason Merritt/Getty Images(BURBANK, Calif.) -- Ron Paul, during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Tuesday night, admitted that he prescribed birth control pills during his time as a practicing OB-GYN in Texas.

“I was also putting myself out of business, all this birth control,” said Paul adding, “They had less babies.”

The Texas congressman, who is credited with delivering 4,000 babies during his four-decade career, also said he wouldn’t ban the morning after pill, equating it to “surgical instruments,” which although might be used for certain things, shouldn’t be banned.

Paul made the comments after Leno asked the congressman if he ever prescribed birth control to patients -- a contentious issue this campaign cycle and a practice opposed by his chief GOP rivals.

The question was inspired by Sandra Fluke, a law student vaulted into the national spotlight this month after Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut” and a “prostitute” after she testified for a House Committee in support of President Obama’s mandate that would require private health insurance to pay for women’s birth control medicine.

Leno continued, asking Paul if a woman should have the right to choose.

“Yeah, I think so she should, but does the infant have the right to choose?” said Paul whose position on contraception changes as the fetus develops.

“The baby at eight months and weighs eight pounds -- should you, the mother have the right to abort?” said Paul.  ”I have not been able to accept that.”

He went on to say that the abortion issue would be solved when people’s morality changes, not the laws.

The interview, which lasted most of the second half hour, also touched on some lighter topics, such as a rumored pact between he and his GOP rival Mitt Romney.

“It’s very secret, because he and I don’t know a whole lot about it,” said Paul to laugher.

Paul, who rejected Secret Service protection, calling it “welfare,” did say he would choose the code name “Bulldog” if he was ever granted protection.

The congressman, who is 76, also commented on his rigorous fitness routine, which includes walking and biking, sometimes twice a day when he’s off the campaign trail.

Leno contrasted a picture of an active Paul with a picture of a shirtless Rick Santorum lying on the beach in Puerto Rico.

“You should take him bike riding with you,” said Leno over laughter.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar152012

Arizona Bill Would Let More Employers Nix Contraceptive Coverage

Michael Matisse/Thinkstock(PHOENIX) -- A state bill in Arizona would expand the right to deny contraception health coverage for all employers who carry religious beliefs, not just churches.

Patrick McNerney, owner of Ave Maria Pharmacy in Prescott Valley, Ariz., said he supports the bill because he does not sell contraception in his pharmacy.

McNerney's four employees are family members who are covered under his insurance plan. But he said if his business one day expanded and provided insurance for its employees he would not want to be forced to pay for coverage for contraception because of his Catholic beliefs.

He runs a "pro-life pharmacy" and the issue is not covering the cost of contraceptives, the generic versions of which can cost $9 a month, he said.

"I specifically opened this pharmacy so I could practice according to the morals of the Catholic Church that I live by," McNerney, 58, said.

Arizona's House Bill 2625 was endorsed by the state's Senate Judiciary Committee this week after passing the House. The law could be approved by the state Senate and signed into law by Gov. Janice Brewer in the next month, said Deborah Sheasby, legal counsel for the Center for Arizona Policy, which supports the bill.

The bill reforms a state contraception mandate that was passed in 2002, the Contraceptive Equity Law. That law required insurers to allow access to all FDA-approved drugs, including emergency contraceptive drugs. But that law provides exception to a "religious employer" that "primarily employs persons who share the religious tenets of the entity" and "serves persons who share the religious tenets of the entity."

One aspect of the bill that has attracted criticism but is already in the 2002 law requires those employed by an employer prohibiting contraception coverage to submit a doctor's prescription if a contraceptive drug is required for medical purposes.

Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona, called that provision "extraordinary" that women with a religious employer could access birth control from a plan that otherwise doesn't cover it if they can attest they are not taking the contraception in order to have sex, regardless of whether they are married or not.

At issue is not whether one should or should not use contraception, Sheasby said.

"The bill is about the religious liberties of employers and paying for something against their religious beliefs," she said.

Sheasby said the 2002 law's exemption was "so narrow" that it only applied to churches or houses of worship, and forced faith-based social service groups and businesses to pay for or support services that were against their beliefs.

Ron Johnson, executive director of the Arizona Catholic Conference, represents the five bishops in the state in the matter. The conference failed in its attempt to get the 2002 law vetoed after it was passed.

He said under the current law, which provides an exemption to entities that hire and serve people of the same faith, "Jesus couldn't qualify because he helped anyone."

Howard disagrees that the issue is about religious freedom.

"The idea that this has to do with religious freedom as opposed to women's health and health care is rather odd because if contraception is withheld on religious grounds of an employer, what he or she is doing is taking away the religious liberty of all his female employees who are no longer able to access health care according to their faith," he said.

Howard called it "disappointing" that women had contraceptive health access for a decade until the bill was introduced, calling it a "setback" to equal access to medication.

Johnson points out that the bill won't allow just any employer to require a prescription for contraceptives, but only those that have religious beliefs against paying for them. And he said the incentive for an employer to fake religious beliefs to get out of contraceptive coverage for economic reasons seems "extremely unlikely."

"The fact is employers were covering it anyway," he said. "I don't think employers are going to take unnecessary grief [to remove coverage] unless they have these beliefs."

Johnson said the number of private employers who are seeking this exemption "is actually a pretty small universe."

"But it's very important to them," he said. "That's not to say we are not concerned about women's health or all people. This is about religious liberties and protecting those rights."

McNerney said he was in favor of allowing the free market determine what should be included in insurance plans.

"If that's not included in the compensation package of the company you work for, and it's that important to you, you could always look for a job in another place," he said.

Joan Williams, law professor and director of the Center for Work Life Law at the University of California, Hastings, said similar bills have been introduced across the country, which she called "troubling" from a constitutional viewpoint.

"I understand it can be troubling for someone who doesn't believe in contraception to have to cover contraception as part of health coverage," she said. "But number one, women have a constitutional right to control their reproductive lives and to say to any women, 'You have no constitutional right if you're employed [by a religious employer],' leaves no constitutional right."

The Center for Arizona Policy, which represents several evangelical churches in Arizona, does not take a position on contraception but says it supports the bill because it supports "religious liberties."

Sheasby said that sentiment is in line "across the board" with those of many churches and pastors who also do not take a position on the use of contraceptives.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Mar032012

Gingrich Won’t Criticize Limbaugh, Calls Obama Opportunistic

Richard Ellis/Getty Images(HAMILTON, Ohio) -- Newt Gingrich avoided criticizing Rush Limbaugh for publicly assailing Sandra Fluke over her testimony to Congress advocating for health insurance companies to cover birth control, but he was quick to attack President Obama, saying he acted “opportunistically” when he called the Georgetown Law student to express his disappointment in Limbaugh’s comments.

“I think the president will opportunistically do anything he can,” Gingrich said after a rally at the Back Porch Saloon. “I think the most important use of language in the last week has been the president’s apology to religious fanatics, and I want to stay focused on what the president has said, and I think what he said was inexcusable and is exactly the wrong policy at a time of life and death, and playing political games is irrelevant as far as I’m concerned.”

After Limbaugh took to his radio show and called Fluke a “slut” for her stance on contraception, Obama phoned the woman Friday afternoon to extend his support.

Asked if he thinks contraception will continue to be an issue in the presidential campaign, Gingrich said the problem is infringement on religious liberty, not contraception.

“It’s about the attack on the Catholic Church and the attack on every right to life institution and whether or not the government has the power to dictate to religious organizations,” he said.

Gingrich, who is devoting his time and resources to winning the Georgia primary, made his final and lone trip to Ohio this week, three days before the Tuesday primary. Despite spending little time in the state in the lead up to Super Tuesday, Gingrich remained confident he could pick up delegates in Ohio.

Without naming him by name, Gingrich referenced Rick Santorum’s inability to sign up the necessary delegates in several Ohio congressional districts, which poses a problem for Santorum, who will be unable to receive the delegates from those districts even if he wins the vote in those districts. Gingrich said he sees Santorum’s delegate debacle as an opportunity for his own campaign to win more delegates in the Ohio battle.

“We want to get as many delegates as we can, and obviously we see real opportunities here,” he said. “We think in a number of places where we have filed delegates and some other folks haven’t, and so we have a chance to actually pick up a good number of delegates.”

Campaigning in southwest Ohio, an area that was ravaged by tornadoes Friday, which claimed at least two lives in towns within 30 miles of Cincinnati, which is just south of Hamilton, Gingrich did not mention the devastation during his speech but extended his condolences to the families who lost loved ones in Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky after a question from ABC News.

“It’s a terrible thing and I think all of us should keep people in our prayers. Callista and I have been praying for all the families in all four states that have lost people to the tornadoes,” he said. “We’re very excited to be here, but as I just mentioned, we also recognize that this is a time of mourning and a time when people should have families in their prayers who have lost loved ones across a four-state area. This is a tremendously devastating period for the tornadoes.”

Later on Saturday, Gingrich is scheduled to participate in a forum hosted by Mike Huckabee, make remarks at a National Rifle Association meeting in Findlay, and speak at the Ohio fifth Congressional District Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner at Bowling Green State University.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar012012

Santorum Attacks Romney on Birth Control Amendment

Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call(ATLANTA) -- Rick Santorum clobbered Mitt Romney in Atlanta Thursday for an interview the former Massachusetts governor did the day before in which Romney seemed to say he did not support an amendment that would try to curtail the Obama administration’s new requirements on contraception coverage.

The Romney campaign quickly clarified Wednesday that the candidate does support the amendment, that he was just confused by the way the reporter phrased the question. Yet Thursday at a rally Santorum said it offers “insight into what’s in the gut of Governor Romney.”

The amendment, which was sponsored by Republican Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt and was voted down Thursday in the Senate, would have rolled back the Obama administration’s controversial requirement that all institutions providing health insurance -- including Catholic universities and hospitals -- must cover contraception, including emergency contraception.

“Having a conscience-clause exemption used to be something that Democrats and Republicans all agreed to. Now it’s not. When Governor Romney was asked that question, his knee-jerk reaction was, ‘No, I can’t be for that,’” Santorum said at an airplane hangar rally in front of about 150 people. “And then after his consultants talked to him, he came back and said, ‘Oh, I didn’t understand the question.’… I tell you if I was asked a question like that, my gut reaction would be always, my gut reaction would be, you stand for the First Amendment. You stand for freedom of religion.”

He told the audience in this Super Tuesday state, which holds the most delegates, that they need a nominee who “at their core beliefs is going to step up and fight, not put them on the backburner and just focus on one or two things that may be popular, like cutting taxes.”

During an interview with the Ohio News Network on Wednesday, Romney said he did not support the proposal that would allow employers to opt out of providing coverage for birth control if they disagreed with it. Thursday in North Dakota he said he was “in favor” of the amendment.

“Look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, husband and wife, I’m not going there,” Romney told the reporter.

Santorum told the Georgia voters Thursday that he wants to do well in every Super Tuesday state. “Georgia needs to be part of that,” Santorum said. He spent the rest of Thursday campaigning in Washington state ahead of its caucus on Saturday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb292012

Senate Showdown Over Contraception, Birth-Control Mandate Repeal Vote

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- On Thursday the Senate will be voting on a repeal of the White House’s controversial birth-control mandate.

It’s a debate that has already sparked impassioned rhetoric and fierce partisanship, and shone a spotlight on an ideological hot topic with some cracks within parties.  Senators will be forced to put their vote publicly on the record for the first time.

Republicans argue that this amendment is about protecting religious freedom. Democrats argue that the amendment is an assault on women’s health.

In the spotlight is the Republican amendment, the “Respect Rights of Conscience Act,” offered by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo.  It is a response to the White House’s controversial contraception mandate.  If passed, the amendment would allow any employer or any insurer in America to be given an exemption from covering contraception -- or any service they choose -- based on “religious belief or moral conviction.”

“This is a fundamental matter of religious freedom and the proper role of our federal government. It’s about who we are as Americans and renewing our commitment to the principles upon which this nation was founded,” Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., said in defense of the amendment. “Unfortunately, many have tried to characterize this amendment as denying women access to contraception. That’s a red herring, and it’s false. We are talking about government mandates that are interfering with conscience protections here that have long been ingrained in our law.”

Republicans argue that this is about a faith principle that the First Amendment guarantees, and point out that the word “contraception” is not mentioned once in the legislation.

Some conservative Democrats agree with this too. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., announced Wednesday he will be voting for the amendment, saying that for him it “comes down to our religious liberties.”

“I truly believe that we must safeguard Americans’ right to exercise their sincerely held religious views, and I support this measure to protect that freedom of conscience,” Manchin said in a statement late Wednesday.

But most Senate Democrats argue that the amendment is nothing more than “politics masquerading as morality,” and is a “radical departure” that gives employers “broad discretion” to deny employees coverage. They argue this could put a woman’s health at risk, with services including contraception, mammograms, pre-natal screenings, cervical cancer screenings, and potentially even flu shots not being offered.

“If this amendment passes, it would ban contraception coverage for any woman in America whose boss has a personal objection to it,” Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said Wednesday.  “The measure would force women to surrender control of their own health decision to their bosses. That concept is not merely quaint or old-fashioned, it is dangerous and it is wrong.”

Additionally, Democrats argue that the law is too broad and that it is hard to define what “religious” or “moral” issue could be that an employer could claim.

“Under the Blunt amendment, if an employer has a conviction against smoking they can refuse treatments for lung cancer or emphysema. If an employer says ‘I don’t approve of drinking and I refuse to cover any treatment program for alcoholism or substance abuse,’ they could do it,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., said Wednesday, “It puts the personal opinions of employers over the practice of medicine.”

Democrats argue that this amendment would also go beyond women’s health -- that it would affect men, children and families as well. They argue that employers could limit access to childhood immunizations if they personally objected to them, or cut off coverage for prenatal care for children born to unmarried parents if they thought that was wrong.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has allowed the amendment to get a vote as part of an unrelated bill, the surface transportation bill, because he says it’s clear Republicans will hold up the bill until this amendment is allowed a vote.

The amendment is not expected to pass but it does put many Senators -- moderate Republicans and some Democrats -- in a difficult and tricky position, having to go on the record with their vote on this for the first time.

Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, in an interview about her decision to leave Congress, said the amendment too broad for her, and she’d favor a narrower bill sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

“I think it’s much broader than I could support,” Snowe said Wednesday, “I think we should focus on the issue of contraceptives and whether or not it should be included in a health insurance plan and what requirements there should be.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Feb282012

Senate to Vote on Repeal of Obama’s Contraception Mandate

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate will vote Thursday on the controversial repeal of the administration’s birth-control mandate, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Tuesday.

“After discussing it with numerous senators, I decided we should set up a vote on contraception and women’s health,” the Nevada Democrat said.  “Once we’ve put this extreme and distracting proposal behind us, I hope my Republican colleagues will stop living in the past and join us this year, 2012.”

The Republican amendment, offered by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., is a response to the White House’s contraception mandate and if passed would permit employers to exclude health care services that they find immoral from their insurance plans.

Blunt has called the Health and Human Services (HHS) mandate and the subsequent White House’s updated contraception rule “unconstitutional.”

“Just because you can come up with an accounting gimmick and pretend like religious institutions do not have to pay for the mandate, does not mean that you’ve satisfied the fundamental constitutional freedoms that all Americans are guaranteed,” Blunt said after the White House tweaked the original proposal in early February to reflect that religious-affiliated institutions will not be mandated to cover birth control for their employees.

“I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that we reverse this unconstitutional mandate in its entirety,” he promised then.

Since then, Republicans have been pushing for a vote for the amendment, attempting to no avail to get a vote within non-germane bills. At least once before, a vote on the repeal amendment was blocked by Reid.

But now the amendment will get a vote -- in an unrelated bill, as an amendment to the surface transportation bill that is making its way through the Senate.

Reid said Tuesday he’s allowing the vote on the Blunt amendment because Republicans have made it clear the transportation bill won’t move forward without one.

“What’s standing in the way is Republicans’ insistence on having a vote on a measure that would deny women access to health services like contraception and even prenatal screenings,” Reid said. “The Republican leader and others on the Republican side of the aisle made it very clear the Senate is not going to be able to move forward on this important surface transportation bill unless we vote on contraception and women’s health.”

Senate Democrats argue that the Blunt amendment is a “radical departure” that gives employers “broad discretion” to deny employees coverage for services including contraception, mammograms, pre-natal screenings, cervical cancer screenings and potentially even flu shots, which could put women’s health at risk.

They argue that it is not a religious issue, as Republicans say, and is a women’s health issue.

The announcement Tuesday that Reid would allow a vote on the repeal amendment did not go over well among Democrats, even though they admitted that a vote must happen to move forward with the transportation bill.

“We’re in a situation in the 21st century where in order to move forward on a highway bill that funds our highways, our roads, our bridges, our transit systems, in order to move forward on that jobs bill, where 2.8 million jobs are at stake in this great nation, we have to have a vote on birth control,” Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said on the Senate floor. “I just want to say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, what are you thinking?”

While the amendment is not expected to pass, this sets up a politically tricky vote for some Senate Democrats like Claire McCaskill of Missouri, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who were either against or expressed reservations about the original and updated mandate.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Feb232012

States File Suit Against Contraception Mandate

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(OMAHA, Neb.) -- Nebraska, joined by Republican attorneys general of six other states, filed suit in federal court Thursday challenging the Obama administration’s policy requiring most health insurance plans to cover preventive services for women, including contraception and the morning-after pill, without a co-pay.

The states argue the policy forces religious schools, non-profits and employers to violate their religious and faith-based beliefs by providing insurance plans covering services that conflict with those beliefs.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Nebraska, argues, “The First Amendment has for centuries served as a rampart against government interference with religious liberty.”

The Obama administration altered the policy in early February amid fierce criticism from advocates of religious liberty.

The president announced an accommodation that would allow women to obtain free contraception by obtaining it directly from the insurance company if their employers object to it out of religious concerns.

But the attorneys general reject the accommodation. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement, “Any rule, regulation or law that forces faith-based institutions to provide for services that violate their free exercise of religion, or that penalizes them for failing to kneel at the altar of government, is a flat-out violation of the First Amendment.”

The states joining Nebraska are Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas.

Co-plaintiffs in the lawsuit are two individuals, two nonprofit corporations (Catholic Social Services and the Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America) and Pius X Catholic High School (in Nebraska).

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb172012

Birth-Control Hearing Was ‘Like Stepping Into a Time Machine’

Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Showing an enlarged photograph of the all-male panel at Rep. Darrell Issa’s committee hearing Thursday,  a group of Democratic women senators took to the Senate floor Friday to protest the “assault on women,” for excluding a women’s perspective during the session on contraceptives.

“Reading the news this morning was like stepping into a time machine and going back 50 years,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said. “It’s a picture that says a thousand words, and it’s one that most women thought was left behind when pictures only came in black and white.”

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearing on the contraceptive coverage rule called an all-male panel with no women representatives, prompting some women members of Congress to walk out of the hearing in protest. Issa, a Republican from California, is the committee chairman.

Democratic women senators Friday came to back them up in protest of the hearing.

“I’m disappointed. I know it’s a disappointment that’s shared by millions of women across this country,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., said. “I’m saddened that here we are in 2012 and a House committee would hold a hearing on women’s health and deny women the ability to share their perspective.”

Senator Murray said that while the recent “attacks” on women’s health care seem “swift and sudden,” she believes they are not.

“There is nothing new about these Republican attacks on our family planning decisions. In fact, from the moment they came into power, Republicans in the House of Representatives have been waging a war on women’s health.”

As for the hearing, Issa Thursday said Democrats could not add their witness because she was not a member of the clergy, but a student at Georgetown. He also faulted Democrats for not submitting the name of the witness, Georgetown Law Center student Sandra Fluke, in time.

Issa’s staff sent a letter to the Democrats, saying, “As the hearing is not about reproductive rights but instead about the administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience, he believes that Ms. Fluke is not an appropriate witness.”

But Sen. Kirstin Gillibrand, D-N.Y., promised that Democratic women senators will continue to stand up.

“If our Republican colleagues want to continue to take this issue head on, we will stand here as often as is necessary and draw a line in the sand that the Senate, the women of the Senate specifically, will continue to oppose these attacks on women’s rights and women’s health care.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., said her 16-year-old grandson saw the photo and instantaneously knew something was off. “It’s all dudes,” Boxer said, quoting her grandson.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb122012

Paul Ryan Denounces Obama’s Contraception Compromise

Michael Matisse/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., shot down the Obama administration’s compromise on contraception Sunday, discounting the plan that requires insurance companies, instead of religious hospitals or universities, provide access to free birth control under the new health care law as nothing more than an “accounting trick.”

“This thing is a distinction without a difference,” Ryan said Sunday on This Week.  “It’s an accounting gimmick or a fig leaf. It’s not a compromise.”

Ryan said Republicans “absolutely” have enough votes in the House to block Obama’s plan, which the White House announced on Friday.

The plan comes after a tumultuous week of tension between the Catholic Church and the Obama administration over a newly announced rule that faith-based hospitals would not be exempted from providing co-pay-free contraception to their employees despite the church’s adamant objections to birth control.

Ryan said that because some Catholic institutions are self-insured, the compromise does not solve the problem, as those faith-based intuitions would still have to provide services that run counter to their religious beliefs.

“This should be rescinded, not compromised like this, because I would, again, say it’s not a compromise,” Ryan said. “The president’s doubling down.”

But White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew insisted the administration would push forward with the plan.

“We didn’t expect that there would be universal support, but we do think this is the right way to go, and it’s a plan that we’re going to pursue,” Lew said Sunday.

Organizations on both sides of the debate came out in support of the president’s compromise plan on Friday. Both Planned Parenthood and the Catholic Health Organization said they were pleased with the administration’s solution.

But on Saturday the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops denounced the plan, saying in a letter that “it does not meet our standard of respecting the religious liberty and moral convictions of all stakeholders in the health coverage transaction.”

The bishops expressed concern that the cost of providing free contraception could fall to the religious institutions in the form of higher premiums for employee health insurance.

Lew insisted that providing contraception would not increase costs.

“If you look at the overall cost of providing health care to a woman, the cost goes up, not down, if you take contraceptives out,” Lew said. “If anything, [the president's plan] could save money over time.”

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Feb102012

Obama Bends Contraception Rule for Religious Institutions

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Seeking to quell a political uproar over religious freedom and contraception, President Obama announced Friday that religious-affiliated institutions will not be mandated to cover birth control for their employees after all.

Insurance companies will instead be directly responsible for providing free contraception and covering the cost.

"Religious organizations won't have to pay for these services and no religious institution will have to provide these services directly," Obama said in the White House briefing room. 

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The president's abrupt shift is intended to calm the firestorm surrounding the administration's recent ruling to require most employers, including Catholic hospitals and charities, to offer health insurance that fully covers contraception and satisfy both sides of the explosive debate.

Under the new policy, women will still get guaranteed access to contraception without a co-pay regardless of where they work. If a woman works for an employer that objects to providing contraception because of its religious beliefs, the insurance company will step in and offer birth control free of charge.

The president made clear that the "accommodation" should not be seen as his backing off his commitment to providing preventative care.

Both sides of the debate have reacted positively to the president's revised plan.

The president of the Catholic Health Association said she is "pleased" with the revised policy.

Planned Parenthood also supported the president's decision.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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