President Obama has faced a lot of backlash from religious groups, particularly the Catholic Church, for a mandate that religious employers provide contraception to all employees via healthcare plans. Churches were exempted, but big religious employers like universities and hospitals were not.
The president is about to hold a press conference. Here are the talking points, courtesy of the White House:
Today, President Obama will announce that his Administration will implement a policy that accommodates religious liberty while protecting the health of women. Today, nearly 99 percent of all women have used contraception at some point in their lives, but more than half of all women between the ages of 18-34 struggle to afford it.
Under the new policy to be announced today, women will have free preventive care that includes contraceptive services no matter where she works. The policy also 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.
The new policy ensures women can get contraception without paying a co-pay and addresses important concerns raised by religious groups by ensuring that objecting religious employers will not have to provide contraceptive coverage or refer women to organizations that provide contraception.
That’s still not going to please the Catholic Church. But it does wash their hands of involvement.