Obama plans religious ‘accommodation’ for contraceptives: report

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, February 10, 2012 8:27 EDT
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President Barack Obama. Photo: AFP.
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Related: Obama official vows all women will have ‘free contraceptive services’

Under pressure from Catholic bishops, the Obama administration will announce it is backing off a requirement that virtually all health insurance policies provide coverage for contraceptives, administration insiders told ABC News on Friday morning.

A member of the administration, or possibly even President Obama himself, will make the announcement later today, the report noted.

It’s not clear how far the “accommodation” will go, but ABC News cited the state of Hawaii as being a model for the administration’s forthcoming policy.

Hawaii has universal coverage for contraceptives, but an exception passed in 1999 lets religious groups off the hook if they opt out.

Religious groups in Hawaii are instead required to provide information on where contraceptive coverage can be obtained, and the insurers are required to provide cost controls if the employee decides to purchase contraceptives.

The current rule already carries an exception for religious non-profits that hire only within their faith. All other organizations that hire based on non-discrimination policies are required to provide contraceptive coverage by August 1.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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