warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Obama Tweaks Birth Control, Contraceptive Mandate

Benjamin Gottlieb |
February 10, 2012 | 10:01 a.m. PST

Executive Editor

President Barack Obama (Creative Commons).
President Barack Obama (Creative Commons).
As President Barack Obama gears up for his reelection campaign in 2012, a conservative shift in the White House on the issues of birth control and women's health insurance have some of the President's most loyal liberal allies aghast.

Obama announced on Friday an adjustment to his health-care rule mandating religiously affiliated institutions and employers to supply contraceptives to their female employes. The policy shift requires women to seek contraceptives directly from their insurance companies, rather than going through their employers that reject supply birth control on religious grounds.

That means religiously affiliated hospitals and universities will not be forced to offer contraception, a shift in the President's policy from earlier this month, according to CNN. Still, the President made sure to hammer his believe in a woman's right to choose at a press conference Friday.

"Whether you are a teacher, a small business woman, a nurse, or a janitor, no woman's health should depend on who she is, or where she works or how much money she makes," Obama said in a statement in the White House press room. "Every woman should be in control of the decisions that effect her own health. Period."

President of the Catholic health group, Sister Carol Keehan, told the Washington Post that her organization was pleased with the compromise.

“This difference has at times been uncomfortable, but it has helped our country sort through an issue that has been important throughout the history of our great democracy,” Keehan told the Post.

More from the Washington Post:

Religiously-affiliated non-profit employers such as schools, charities, universities, and hospitals will be able to provide their workers with plans that exclude such coverage. However, the insurance companies that provide the plans will have to offer those workers the opportunity to obtain additional contraceptive coverage directly, at no additional charge.

Churches remain exempt from the birth-control coverage requirement. And their workers will not have the option of obtaining separate contraceptive coverage under the new arrangement.

According to White House figures, nearly 99 percent of women in the United States have "used contraception at some point in their lives," however just half of women ages 18-34 can afford it.

Watch the President's accommodating speech below:

View the new Women's Preventive Services and Religious Institutions explainer below: 


To reach Benjamin Gottlieb, click here.

Follow him on Twitter @benjamin_max.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.