Republican state attorneys general sue Obama over birth control rule

By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, February 23, 2012 17:21 EDT
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Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning screengrab
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Seven state attorneys general have filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration that seeks to block the implementation of new federal government rules regarding contraception coverage.

The attorneys general of Florida, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas, along with some Catholic organizations, said in their lawsuit that the new rule violates the First Amendment.

In recent weeks, a controversy has erupted over the policy, which requires virtually all private insurance policies to cover family planning, including female contraceptives, essentially guaranteeing near universal access to birth control once all the provisions of the Affordable Care Act are implemented.

“Obamacare’s latest mandate tramples the First Amendment’s Freedom of Religion and compels people of faith to act contrary to their convictions,” said Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. “The President’s so called ‘accommodation’ was nothing but a shell game: the mandate still requires religious organizations to subsidize and authorize conduct that conflicts with their religious principles.”

The White House offered to change the rules by exempting religion-related organizations with moral objections. Instead, the insurance companies would be required provide those services free of charge. Republicans have derided the compromise as an “accounting gimmick.

The lawsuit alleges that the proposed compromise is too narrow because it does not exempt businesses and organizations that primarily serve or employ persons who do not share their religious tenets.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court of Nebraska.

According to a Quinnipiac University national poll released Thursday, 54 percent of Americans approve of Obama’s compromise concerning insurance coverage for birth control. Thirty-eight percent disapprove. Women are slightly more likely than men to approve of the compromise, while white Catholics are split 46 percent to 48 percent. Not surprisingly, Democrats are much more likely to approve of the compromise than Republicans.

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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