Democrats Rebel Against Obama Birth-Control Rule

Wednesday, 08 Feb 2012 11:01 PM

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An Obama administration rule that would require Catholic hospitals and other religious institutions to provide birth control and contraceptive aid in healthcare insurance has prompted a rebellion on the president’s crucial left flank.

High-profile Catholic Democrats are abandoning the president and joining the GOP chorus of critics. They’re arguing that the rule needs to be significantly softened if not, as Republicans want, scrapped altogether, Politico reports.

Obama’s former DNC chairman, Tim Kaine, who’s running for Senate in Virginia, and Pennsylvania Sen. Bob Casey as well as House Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson have all come out against the measure

The uproad is likely to be most pronounced in battleground states with large numbers of Catholic voters, like Pennsylvania and Ohio — two crucial "swing" states now in play in the presidential election.

“I think the White House made a good decision in including a mandate for contraception coverage in the [health care act] insurance policy,” Kaine, a former Virginia governor, said in a radio interview on WHRV. “But I think they made a bad decision in not allowing a broad enough religious employer exemption.”

Here’s more:
  • Casey told a constituent in a letter this week that he’s “disappointed that [the Health and Human Services Department] failed to include a balanced compromise that respects the conscience rights of religious entities opposed to contraception.” The senator, who could face a tough reelection fight this fall, has called on the president to reverse his decision and is weighing GOP legislation to roll back the mandate.
  • Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who’s up for reelection this year and has called the Obama edict “un-American” and a “direct affront to the religious freedoms protected under the First Amendment.”
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), an Orthodox Jew, tweeted Wednesday that he opposed the administration’s mandate.

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