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Obama to exempt religious groups from contraception mandate

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Facing growing backlash from religious groups over the administration's birth control insurance plan, President Obama on Friday will unveil a new arrangement whereby insurers at religiously affiliated institutions — such as Catholic hospitals and universities — will not have to provide contraception coverage.

The new approach effectively removes faith-based organizations from any involvement in providing contraceptive coverage or even telling employees how to find such coverage. It also maintains Obama's pledge to ensure that almost all women with health insurance will not have to pay for it.

“These religious institutions will not have to offer it [contraception coverage] to their employees and do not have to pay for it,” said a senior administration official about an hour before the president is to make the official announcement, which is expected at 12:30pm EST.

About David Gibson

David Gibson is an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He writes for RNS and until recently covered the religion beat for AOL's Politics Daily. He blogs at Commonweal magazine, and has written two books on Catholic topics, the latest a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.

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