For weeks, the right-wing media have been attacking the Obama administration for drafting regulations that required most employers to provide contraceptive coverage to women. While the regulation exempted churches and other religious institutions, conservatives screamed that it would violate the religious conscience of Catholic hospitals and other employers. Today, President Obama announced an accommodation in which insurance companies would directly offer contraception coverage to employers who have religious objections to such coverage.
The Catholic hospitals -- who conservative media say they are trying to protect -- support the accommodation. According to the Associated Press: “The president of the Catholic Health Association, a trade group representing Catholic hospitals that had fought against the birth control requirement, said the organization was pleased with the revised rule. 'The framework developed has responded to the issues we identified that needed to be fixed,' Sister Carol Keehan said in a statement.”
Despite the support from Catholic hospitals, Fox's supposedly “straight news” division is already laying the groundwork to attack the accommodation.
Discussing the accommodation, Fox News' Happening Now host Jon Scott said “There's no guarantee, I have to think, that this accommodation is going to be acceptable.” Scott also said: “Saying that the church doesn't necessarily have to pay for the birth control option, that the insurance companies have to, that doesn't seem like it's going to necessarily fly.”
It will be hard to make the case that Obama has done anything less than bend over backwards to achieve consensus. Catholic hospitals support the accommodation; the Catholic group Catholics United supports the accommodation; and recent polls have shown that the majority of Catholics support insurance plans that cover contraception.
But Fox seems ready to keep trying to drum up outrage.