WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama declared Friday he's
found a solution that will protect religious liberty but also
ensure that women have access to free birth control, as he rushed
to defuse an election-year political uproar that threatened to
overtake his administration.
Capping weeks of growing controversy, Obama announced he was
backing off a newly announced requirement for religious employers
to provide free birth control coverage even if it runs counter to
their religious beliefs. Instead, workers at such institutions will
be able to get free birth control coverage directly from health
"Religious liberty will be protected and a law that requires
free preventative care will not discriminate against women," Obama
said in a brief appearance in the White House briefing room.
"I understand some folks in Washington want to treat this as
another political wedge issue. But it shouldn't be. I certainly
never saw it that way," Obama said. "This is an issue where
people of good will on both sides of the debate have been sorting
through some very complicated questions."