February 2nd, 2012
01:55 PM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) –The White House is pushing back on criticism of its decision requiring church-affiliated employers to provide no-cost contraceptive coverage including birth control as part of their health care plans.
“This decision was made after very careful consideration of the legal and policy points and we believe it strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious beliefs and approving access to services,” a senior administration official told reporters on a conference call Thursday afternoon.
That was a direct response to comments made by House Speaker John Boehner, who insisted the provision in the new health care law “violates our Constitution.”
Speaker Boehner is now urging the administration to reconsider this controversial move.
“I would hope that the administration would back up and take another look at this,” he said.
But White House officials are showing no signs of backing down despite strong opposition from the Catholic Church.
“We aren’t here to make any new policy announcements or any changes,” another White House official said on the call.
Earlier this week White House spokesman Jay Carney acknowledged the criticism but stood by the process that led to the final decision.
“I understand that there’s controversy…and we will continue to work with religious groups to discuss their concerns,” he said. “But on the other side of this was the important need to provide access to women to the preventive services that they require.”
White House officials are also trying to shift the focus to other Catholics and religious groups who have publicly endorsed the decision.