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In response to escalating criticism from political opponents and members of his own party, today President Obama has reversed the requirement that religiously-affilated employers provide birth control coverage to women.
The Washington Post reports that women who work for affliated non-profit schools, charities, universities, and hospitals will still be guaranteed free coverage for contraceptive services, but must get such coverage directly from their insurance companies. Churches remain exempt from the requirement, which means that their female employes cannot obtain separate contraceptive coverage.
“After many genuine concerns were raised over the last few weeks – and the more cynical desire to make this into political football – it became clear that spending months hammering out a solution was not an option; we had to move this faster,” Obama said during a conference earlier today.
A senior White House official, speaking to reporters about the revised rule, said that the change would have no cost impact on insurers, and could potentially save money by reducing unwanted pregnancies and other conditions that could be avoided by birth control.