Friday, February 10, 2012

Obama Caves In To Catholic Pressure. Or Does He?!?

Well, we knew the President would have to reverse the HHS' decision re: contraceptives to religious organizations. I figured he'd do a fullblown "cave-in", but turns out, he came to a very fair compromise that satisfies HHS' goals, and deads this pointless, faux Conservative controversy at the same time.
Seeking to allay the concerns of Catholic leaders, the White House is planning to adjust its health care rule requiring religious employers to provide women access to contraception, a senior administration official said Friday.

Women will be guaranteed coverage for contraceptive services, but would have to seek the coverage directly from their insurance companies if their employers object to birth control on religious grounds.

Similar compromises are in place in Hawaii and several other states, but the White House had not included one when it proposed the health-care law requiring contraceptive coverage for all women. After a firestorm of opposition from Catholic church officials and other groups, the Obama administration said it would seek to modify its position.

The current rule, proposed last summer and confirmed last month as part of Obama’s health-care overhaul law, requires employers to provide female employees the full range of contraceptive coverage, including birth control, the “morning-after pill” and sterilization services.

The measure exempts churches but covers religiously affiliated schools, charities, colleges and hospitals, meaning that many Catholic-run institutions would have to offer insurance plans that church leaders say violate their teachings.

Catholic bishops have been leading the opposition to the rule by distributing letters and other materials to be shared with millions of worshipers.

The controversy has exposed divisions among Democrats, with several in that party stepping forward in recent days to criticize Obama’s handling of the issue. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W. Va.), who is co-sponsoring legislation to reverse the rule, called the measure “un-American” in a letter to Obama last week. Former Virginia Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, one of Obama’s closest political allies, called the rule a bad decision and said Obama must find a middle path.

The result is that Friday’s announcement is not likely to satisfy the rule’s most ardent critics, particularly the Catholic bishops who have been leading the opposition.
So, I'm hoping this ends this "controversy" and effectively squashes what the GOP so blatantly tried to turn into an election year wedge issue to distract from their lack of participation in what's been a steadily improving economy.

I'm sure some are still going to ding Obama for not simply listening to his advisers and doing this in the first place. Those people might have a point, but whatever.

The horror of offering grown assed women access to birth control!!! I was personally sick of hearing about this alleged "attack on religious freedom" and am glad this is over.

Question: Was this much ado over nothing? Did Obama cave-in, or was this the right move? What faux wedge issue will the GOP invent next?

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