It's an election year, and Obama doesn't want a culture war… even if he IS on the winning side of it, and most people support him on it.
The White House will announce some sort of compromise later today. Wooses.
And by the way, don't expect the "compromise" to satisfy the right.
UPDATE — per a fact sheet being passed around:
Under the new policy announced today, women will have free preventive care that includes contraceptive services no matter where she works. The policy also ensures that if a woman works for religious employers with objections to providing contraceptive services as part of its health plan, the religious employer will not be required to provide contraception coverage but her insurance company will be required to offer contraceptive care free of charge.
Now, watch how that doesn't appease the Catholics.
UPDATE #2 – Okay, maybe I am wrong:
The leader of one Catholic organization and a prominent women's group both expressed initial support for the changes.
"The framework developed has responded to the issues we identified that needed to be fixed," Sister Carol Keehan, president of the Catholic Health Association, a trade group representing Catholic hospitals that had fought against the birth control requirement, said in a statement.
But I think the GOP candidates will continue to make hay of it because, well, because it's Obama.
UPDATE #3 Might this backfire against the GOP? Greg Sargant thinks so:
At his press conference this morning announcing the new shift in contraception policy, Obama said: “I understand that some folks in Washington may want to treat this as another political wedge issue. But it shouldn’t be.”
The irony is that after this announcement, this very well may become a wedge issue — against Republicans.
That’s because anyone who comes out against the proposal Obama outlined today will be asked a simple question: Are you saying that employers should dictate to female employees whether they should or shouldn’t have access to birth control coverage?
If that becomes the question, polls show that the GOP will turn off many voters, especially independents.
A new poll came out just today illustrating how perilous this [GOP] position may be among Americans overall. It found that a big majority, 61 percent, approve of “requiring employer health plans to cover birth control for women.” Only 34 percent disapproved. Independents approve 58-34; women, 67-29. Republicans, conservatives, and Tea Partyers all oppose it.
And that may become the question. GOP Rep. Roy Blunt recently introduced a measure that would give employers — any employer — the right to deny women contraceptive coverage.