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February 13, 2012

Bishops Blast Contraception Compromise, but White House Stays Firm

The nation's Catholic leaders on Friday rejected the Obama administration's compromise for covering birth-control services for employees at religious institutions, according to the Los Angeles Times and The Wall Street Journal.

The revised White House plans lifts a requirement that faith-linked hospitals, universities, and charities pay for contraceptive coverage, instead requiring that their insurance carriers offer such services directly to employees, with no co-pays. Chief of staff Jacob Lew said Sunday that the administration would not amend the regulation further, Reuters writes.

In a statement issued late Friday, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops said the compromise does not go far enough and that the federal government's overall mandate that women have free access to contraception remains "a grave moral concern."

Initial opposition to the White House proposal—part of a larger push for coverage of preventative care in its health-care reform—centered on the issue of religious freedom, which critics said was violated by the requirement that faith groups pay for services they find morally objectionable.