Reaction to Obama's birth control compromise

February 10, 2012 - 7:45 PM

Reaction to President Barack Obama's birth control compromise:

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"It's absolutely unacceptable. It's just an economic shell game because it, for religious employers, requires indirect funding of contraception and abortifacients. For Liberty University and other self-insured, it does not change anything from the previous directive and directly collides with our religious, free-exercise beliefs." — Mathew Staver, vice president of Liberty University, a Christian school in Lynchburg, Va., founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, with more than 6,000 employees.

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The changes are a "first step in the right direction." — Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan, head of the nation's Roman Catholic bishops.

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"The widespread concerns expressed by Catholics and people from other faiths have led today to a welcome step toward recognizing the freedom of religious institutions to abide by the principles that define their respective missions. We applaud the willingness of the administration to work with religious organizations to find a solution acceptable to all parties." — The Rev. John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame.

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"I appreciate the president's unifying approach as we work to ensure that the American people continue to receive the benefits of health care reform." — House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

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"As far as I can see, the compromise is not acceptable ... What he offered was really a distinction without a difference."— Michael McClean, president of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, Calif.

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"Today he did the classic Obama retreat, all right, and what I mean by that is it wasn't a retreat at all. It's another deception." Mitt Romney, GOP presidential candidate.

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"The framework developed has responded to the issues we identified that needed to be fixed." — Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association.

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"We believe the compliance mechanism does not compromise a woman's ability to access these critical birth control benefits." — Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood.

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"This is very significant. Many of us have been hoping that there would be a way to find a compromise that would respect freedom of conscience and religious beliefs without imposing anything in any direction. At first glance, this looks very promising." — William Hynes, president of Holy Names University, a Catholic school in Oakland, Calif.

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"We are grateful that today President Obama announced a revised rule that fully respects the conscience rights and religious liberty of Catholic institutions and also respects constitutionally mandated rights of women. This resolution demonstrates that when issues are approached in a thoughtful manner we can rise above politics and find solutions to the challenges that face all members of our pluralistic society." — The Rev. Gerald Coleman, vice president for ethics for the Daughters of Charity Health System, a California health care chain of six hospitals that employs 7,500 people.

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"It's kind of silly to think that insurance companies are going to give away these drugs for free. My anticipation is that we are going to end up paying for it." — Steve Miller, university counsel for Colorado Christian University in Denver. The interdenominational school filed a lawsuit in December challenging the birth control requirement.

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"While we still think it's a bad social policy, we believe that this is a sincere attempt to honor the religious convictions of those who disagree and we appreciate that." — Monsignor Stuart Swetland, vice president of Catholic identity for Mount St. Mary's University.