By Brianna Keilar and Becky Brittain, CNN
White House (CNN) – The White House appears to be softening its stance on the controversial rule forcing some religious organizations to provide birth control as part of their health insurance plans.
“The president's interest at a policy level is in making sure that this coverage is extended to all women because it's important,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. “(On) the other side is finding the right balance…concerns about religious beliefs and convictions. So we will, in this transition period …seek to find ways to implement that policy that allay some of those concerns.”
More than two weeks ago, the Department of Health and Human Service issued a mandate instructing all employers that provide health insurance to their employees include the option for paid birth control, the morning after pill and intrauterine devices. The rule, scheduled to go into effect next summer, excluded churches from participation. The mandate did not exclude religiously affiliated employers like universities and hospitals creating a firestorm.
By Dan Gilgoff and Lesa Jansen, CNN
(CNN) - The battle over a new White House policy compelling Catholic institutions to cover contraception in health insurance plans continues to escalate, with Republican presidential candidates denouncing the rule, liberal groups spotlighting Catholic support for contraception, and the Obama administration vowing to confront religious concerns head on.
"The president's interest is in making sure that … all women here have access to the same preventive care services,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said Tuesday.
“He is also concerned about and understands the religious concerns that have been raised,” Carney said, stressing that the White House would work to see if “the implementation of the policy can be done in a way that allays some of those concerns.”
Earlier Tuesday, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, David Axelrod, signaled that the president might be open to compromise on the issue.
By the CNN Wire Staff
An Irish woman who detailed her own harrowing experience of child sexual abuse at the hands of a priest spoke out during a Vatican symposium on Tuesday, telling church officials that an apology was not enough.
"Those fingers that would abuse my body the night before were the next morning holding and offering me the sacred host," Marie Collins told an audience at Gregorian University in Rome. "The hands that held the camera to photograph my exposed body, in the light of day were holding a prayer book when he came to hear my confession."
Collins said "there must be acknowledgment and accountability for the harm and destruction that has been done to the life of victims," calling for a strengthening of church policies to avoid what she called the "deliberate cover up and mishandling of cases."
Editor's Note: Mollie Ziegler Hemingway is a media critic at GetReligion and editor at Ricochet.
By Mollie Ziegler Hemingway, Special to CNN
Faced with a deluge of media opposition and pressure from lawmakers, the Susan G. Komen foundation amended its decision to cut off funds to Planned Parenthood last week. Afterward, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and NBC’s Andrea Mitchell complimented each other on getting Komen to buckle under pressure.
Mitchell’s hostile interrogation of Ambassador Nancy Brinker, Komen’s CEO and founder, was widely viewed as a key moment in Planned Parenthood’s campaign against Komen.
“I thought you did such an interesting interview with the ambassador yesterday,” Boxer said to Mitchell during a televised discussion, “which I think helped bring this about, if I might say.”
By Dan Merica, CNN
Here's the Belief Blog’s morning rundown of the top faith-angle stories from around the United States and around the world. Click the headlines for the full stories.
From the Blog:
Romney says Obama infringing upon religious rights
Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama of infringing upon Americans’ religious rights in a fiery address to more than 2,500 supporters Monday in Colorado.
A Vatican official said that Pope Benedict deserved credit for his efforts to stop the sex abuse scandal.
CNN: Vatican official defends Pope Benedict in sex abuse scandal
A top Roman Catholic official opened a conference on protecting children from sexual abuse Monday by defending Pope Benedict XVI, arguing that he deserved thanks for his efforts.
By Rachel Streitfeld, CNN Political Producer
Centennial, Colorado (CNN) – Mitt Romney accused President Barack Obama of infringing upon Americans’ religious rights in a fiery address to more than 2,500 supporters Monday in Colorado.
“The Creator gave every human being his rights,” Romney told the audience, to sustained cheers. “I’m just distressed as I watch our president try and infringe upon our rights.”
In recent weeks the GOP frontrunner has signaled he would attack the president over the charge his administration has rolled back the rights of religious individuals and institutions. Romney went further at his Monday rally and publicly detailed specific examples of Obama’s “violation of conscience.”
Romney cited a new policy from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that requires some religious institutions, including schools and hospitals, to provide coverage of birth control to their employees.
The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.