February 10th, 2012
09:08 AM ET
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House probably will announce a compromise Friday on a controversial rule requiring religiously affiliated employers to provide full contraception coverage to women, an administration source said.
News of the possible compromise comes after days of escalating partisan and ideological rhetoric over the pending rule, which many Catholic leaders and other religious groups oppose. The rule would apply to institutions such as hospitals and colleges.
The administration has been examining laws in 28 states that have similar coverage requirements, senior administration sources said this week. Two sources have told CNN that the administration is particularly interested in the Hawaii model, in which female employees of religious institutions can purchase contraceptive coverage directly from the insurer at the same price offered to employees of all other employers.
The question of whether institutions with religious ties should be required to offer insurance plans covering birth control and the so-called morning after pill, among other things, hits a number of political hot buttons. Liberal groups defend the requirement on grounds of gender equality in health care. Conservatives consider it a violation of the First Amendment and an infringement on religious liberty.
Republican leaders have blasted the administration's decision, raising the issue's profile both in Washington and on the presidential campaign trail.
Speaking on a Cincinnati radio show Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden said the administration hopes to find a middle ground that would allow women to get insurance coverage for contraception while allowing an institution like the Roman Catholic Church, which opposes birth control, "to be consistent with its teachings."