February 9th, 2012
12:29 PM ET
With an eye towards the public uproar that forced the Susan G. Komen Foundation to reverse its decision to pull funding from Planned Parenthood, the Obama administration is trying to satisfy liberal Catholics who generally support the president without alienating women’s groups and creating a backlash among female voters as it searches for a compromise on the controversial policy governing insurance coverage for contraception.
Publicly, White House officials say the timeline for working out a resolution could take months, pointing out that religiously affiliated employers do not have to comply with the HHS ruling to provide contraceptive coverage until August 2013. But privately, many in the administration and close to the White House say the goal is to find a solution as soon as possible, perhaps as early as tomorrow.
A source familiar with the Catholic community says the Obama administration talked to at least one progressive Catholic organization Wednesday. The White House would not confirm.
Press Secretary Jay Carney said discussions were under way in his daily briefing Wednesday but would not say whether they included parties other than administration officials. “We will press forward with these discussions to see if there’s a way to proceed, to move forward in implementing this policy that allays some of these concerns,” Carney said.
Sources familiar with White House thinking on a solution to the controversy say the administration is aiming to win over progressive Catholics and is convinced approval from conservative Catholics, most of whom they say would never support the president politically even absent this issue, is out of reach.
Catholic leaders, like the US Conference of Bishops, have said nothing short of a reversal on the policy will allay their concerns.