White House: Female Students Now Covered For Contraception
New directive offers birth control to students at religious-affiliated colleges
The Obama administration on Friday released what may be its final compromise in response to the objections by religious organizations.
Officials at the Department of Health and Human Services finalized rules governing student health plans, which will guarantee female students have the same access as women employed by religious institutions.
In part, an HHS statement reads:
“In the same way that religious colleges and universities will not have to pay, arrange or refer for contraceptive coverage for their employees, they will not have to do so for their students who will get such coverage directly and separately from their insurer.”
To read the full announcement, click here.
Catholic groups and Republican presidential candidates have been unrelenting in their criticism over the new rules requiring private insurance companies cover contraception for female employees of religiously-affiliated institutions.
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the new directive addresses the concerns.
“The President’s policy respects religious liberty and makes free preventive services available to women,” Sebelius said in a statement. “Today’s announcement is the next step toward fulfilling that commitment.”
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The latest announcement comes less than two weeks after radio shock jock Rush Limbaugh angered national women rights groups for sexually harassing comments made about Georgetown University grad student Sandra Fluke.
Fluke testified before an unofficial House panel on access to contraception, and became a household name after Limbaugh’s attack. She later received a personal call from President Obama, who said news of Limbaugh’s comments made him think of his daughters, Malia and Sasha.
[ALSO READ: How GOP Flubbed its Limbaugh Response]