Obama Settles Birth Control Debate, Telling Insurers They Must Pick Up Tab If Employer Won’t

Jessica Wakeman / February 13, 2012

Every woman will have access to birth control under the Obama administration’s latest decision regarding health care reform, which was meant to appease Catholic bishops who balked at a previous iteration of the rule. White House officials stated on Friday that insurers must create a policy that doesn’t offer coverage of contraceptives that can be used by religiously-affiliated employers that object. But insurers also have to offer a plan that covers contraceptives without co-pays or deductibles and they are required to reach out and offer it to women. Explicitly religious employers, such as houses of worship, are still exempt from covering contraception in their prescription plans.

This plan will go into effect on August 1, 2012.  The previous grace period that the administration had offered to religiously-affiliated employers — they would be given one year to find a way to be compliant — is gone.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, told reporters on Sunday that he was still not appeased — though it will be more difficult now for the opposition to claim they’re victims of “religious discrimination” now.

But even if bishops object, the reality is that Catholic women do use birth control: according to a study from the Guttmacher Institute, 98 percent of Catholic women who had sex between 2006 and 2008 used contraception. The latest decision — a compromise, you could say — is acknowledging that reality.

What are your thoughts on the compromise? Let us know in the comments.

[Reproductive Health Reality Check]

[Mother Jones]

[Think Progress]

[The Nation]

Contact the author of this post at Jessica@TheFrisky.com. Follow me on Twitter at @JessicaWakeman.