President Barack Obama on Friday will announce a new compromise contraception policy in the hopes of tamping down a growing controversy over his handling of an issue that pitted women’s rights against religious freedom.
Instead of requiring religious institutions to provide insurance that covers birth control, senior administration officials Friday said the “administration will be implementing a health care policy that accommodates religious liberty” while still protecting women’s health by placing the onus on insurance companies to provide contraceptive services rather than religious institutions.
According to one official, “the policy going forward” will be that the insurance company, not the charity or hospital, “will have to reach out to [employees] and offer it free of charge.”
Officials repeatedly called the new policy “commonsense” and “responsible,” while downplaying the effect of the political controversy that has exploded during the past 10 days.
“Throughout this process, we’ve talked with stakeholders throughout the country,” one White House official said, adding that “we weren’t just starting that work this week.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.