U.S. House Republicans vowed Wednesday to reverse the administration’s new policy on birth control, lambasting the requirement that religious schools and hospitals provide employees with free contraceptives as an “unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our country.” The White House pushed back in the face of a political firestorm, arguing that the president was sensitive to the objections and looking for a way to allay the concerns.
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Democratic women lawmakers put up a united front in defending the administration. “Women’s health care should not depend on who the boss is,” said U.S. Rep. Jan (D-Evanston, pictured). The fight over the administration mandate escalated as House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) accused the administration of violating First Amendment rights and undermining some of the country’s most vital institutions, such as Catholic charities, schools and hospitals. He demanded that White House rescind the policy or else Congress will.
“This attack by the federal government on religious freedom in our country cannot stand, and will not stand,” Boehner, a Catholic, said in a rare floor speech. The contentious issue has roiled the presidential race and angered religious groups, especially Catholics, who say the requirement would force them to violate church teachings and long-held beliefs against contraception.