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Contraceptive debate heats up between Democrats and Republicans

The debate on women's rights shifts to the contraceptive coverage mandate, as the Obama administration faces criticism from the Catholic church and Republicans.

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The debate over contraceptives is heating up between Democrats and Republicans. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images) (Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

Republican senators today blasted the Obama administration’s decision on contraceptive coverage, making the issue the next fight in the politically volatile battleground of reproductive rights, reported Politico.

President Barack Obama sided with female advisers in not exempting religious organizations from a law mandating that they provide birth control and contraceptives, according to Bloomberg.

House Speaker John Boehner, a practicing Catholic, said today, “the federal government is violating a First Amendment right that has stood for more than two centuries. And it is doing so in a manner that affects millions of Americans and harms some of our nation’s most vital institutions,” according to The New York Times.

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said late on Tuesday that she welcomed the upcoming fight, stating, “My Republican friends are attempting to turn back the clock on birth control,” according to The Hill.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that the administration would work with religious institutions “to see if the implementation of the policy can be done in a way that allays some of those concerns," reported CNBC.

Catholic bishops and Republican leaders criticized the administration for the regulation that would require health insurance to provide “birth control and other preventive health services” for women, stating that it clashed with the church’s policy on birth control, said CNBC.

Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, said in a statement, “To force American citizens to choose between violating their consciences and forgoing their healthcare is literally unconscionable.”

More on GlobalPost: Komen exec Karen Handel quits over Planned Parenthood funding cuts

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich was quick to turn the criticism on the administration onto his rival Mitt Romney, saying, “Governor Romney insisted that Catholic hospitals give out abortion pills, against their religious belief, when he was governor,” according to the Associated Press.

Meanwhile, The Huffington Post reported that seven Democratic senators, led by Boxer and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY.) are planning to appeal for the cause “One Million Strong for Women” with a letter stating, “The next battle over the Obama administration's decision to make contraception more affordable under the new health care law is already underway.”

More on GlobalPost: John Boehner calls Obama birth control rule unconstitutional

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120208/contraceptive-debate-heats-between-democrats-and-republicans