Backlash against birth control mandate

My front-page story in Roll Call today argued that the conservative backlash against the Obama administration’s new birth-control mandate may actually help the president’s election campaign.

I spoke on Fox News and MSNBC about the piece. I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet Greta Van Susteren, who discussed Pakistan with me off camera. I also ran into Karl Rove in the Fox greenroom.

Here’s an excerpt from the story:

A new federal mandate on birth control and the growing outcry against it might actually help President Barack Obama in the upcoming election.

Catholic leaders led by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are urging their congregations to lobby Congress against the policy, which is part of the health care overhaul that the bishops also opposed.
The mandate announced last month would require religiously affiliated nonprofits, including Catholic universities and hospitals, to cover birth control in employee health care plans. Churches are exempt. Religious groups including the National Association of Evangelicals have rallied around the bishops.

“This is an attack on religious liberty,” Deirdre McQuade, spokeswoman for the bishops, said in an interview.

The Catholic Health Association, which supported Obama during the health care fight, released a statement saying its members “were profoundly disappointed.”

The fierce opposition is galvanizing another base to the policy’s defense, a bloc that could provide Obama with more votes and dollars for his re-election: women’s rights groups and their backers.

Read on at Roll Call.

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