As religious groups freak out over the Obama administration's contraception mandate, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) piled on by claiming that the policy is unconstitutional.
The mandate, authorized under the Affordable Care Act, holds that employer-provided health insurance plans must provide birth control to women without co-pays. Houses of worship are exempt, and religious nonprofits are allowed an additional year before they begin complying. But conservative religious organizations and their allies on Capitol Hill say that's not enough.
"I think this mandate violates our constitution," Boehner told reporters on Thursday. "I think it violates the right of these religious organizations. And I would hope that the administration would back up and take another look."
TPM put the constitutional question to a senior administration official, who didn't sound too concerned about it.
"This decision was made after very careful consideration of legal and policy points," the official said. "We think this is a balanced approach that really tries to respect religious belief while ensuring access to contraception for women."
The Obama administration first issued the regulation last year and finalized it on January 20, resisting religious pressure to carve out more exemptions for them.