Lew: Obama Achieved ‘Reconciliation’ With Birth Control Accommodation

White House chief of staff Jack Lew said Sunday that President Obama struck the right balance between access to women’s health services and respect for religious liberty with his tweak to the birth control rule. He emphasized that even though Catholic Bishops say the shift is not good enough, other Catholic organizations support it.

He said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

You know, George, from the very beginning, the president had two important goals here.  One is to guarantee that every woman has a right to all forms of preventive health care, including contraception, secondly, that we do it in a way that respects the legitimate religious differences and the religious liberties that are so important in our country.

I think what the president announced on Friday struck the kind of balance to reconcile those two very important values.  I think the fact that on Friday groups ranging from Catholic charities and the Catholic Health Association to Planned Parenthood all embraced what the president proposed speak to the fact that it is where that reconciliation is.

We didn’t expect that there would be universal support, but we do think this is the right way to go, and it’s a plan that we’re going to pursue.

Lew predicted that insurance companies, which will have to pick up the cost of free birth control if religious non-profits claim the exemption, will save money in the long-run as a result.

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Sahil Kapur is TPM's senior congressional reporter and Supreme Court correspondent. His articles have been published in the Huffington Post, The Guardian and The New Republic. Email him at sahil@talkingpointsmemo.com and follow him on Twitter at @sahilkapur.
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