The group Catholics United, which tends to support progressive causes, has decried the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops opposition to new U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations on contraceptives.

The White House said last week that it would change proposed rules requiring religious hospitals and universities to cover birth control, instead mandating that insurance companies provide those services.

But the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the official church policy organization, said that the "mandate of insurance coverage of sterilization" was still a "needless government intrusion in the internal governance of religious institutions."

Catholics United, however, noted that a number of Catholic organizations had approved of Obama's compromise.

Those organizations include the Catholic Health Association, the University of Notre Dame, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, and Catholic Charities USA.

"The Catholic bishops and their allies in the Republican Party are increasingly isolated in their desire to rescind the Obama Administration's compromise regulation affecting contraception services and religious liberty," Catholics United's executive director, James Salt, said.

"Most of the leading Catholic institutions affected by the rule agree that the Administration is acting in good faith and is invested in drafting a workable solution acceptable by all parties. The bishop's blanket opposition appears the serve the interests of a political agenda, not the needs of the America people."

A survey released by the Public Religion Research Institute on February 7 found that Catholics in the U.S. are more likely than other Americans to say that employers should be required to provide insurance that covers free contraception.