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Rachel Maddow: The Republican Party Is Waging War On Contraception (VIDEO)

02/05/2012 12:46 pm ET | Updated Feb 05, 2012

Rachel Maddow appeared on NBC's "Meet The Press" Sunday morning and clashed with a fellow panelist during a heated discussion on contraception.

Maddow was joined on the panel by New York Times columnist David Brooks, Republican strategist Alex Castellanos, and Rep. Xavier Becerra. "Meet The Press" host David Gregory asked the panel to weigh in on GOP candidate Mitt Romney's Saturday night win in the Nevada caucuses.

Brooks commented on how he believed Romney had won back the Evangelical vote due to the "perception" that President Barack Obama was "assaulting religious freedom" by mandating that Catholic institutions offer contraception as part of employee health plans.

Maddow responded to Brooks' comment. "Roughly 80 percent of people say that anybody providing health insurance should be required to cover contraception. And so there is a way you can try to make this into a religious freedom issue but...campaigning against the availability of birth control in America is going to run into a 21st century ceiling," Maddow said.

Castellanos disagreed with Maddow. "You can try to make this a religious issue?" Castellanos repeated. "The [Obama] administration said that even if you're a Catholic hospital or a Catholic university, you can't live your beliefs."

Maddow later said, "the idea that the Catholic church is being forced to do something that, as a church, it does not want to do is a misnomer...The question here is...when you want to become a health insurance provider, you must follow the rules of providing health insurance. And in this country, that means you have to cover contraception."

Castellanos began to interrupt Maddow but she continued. "You guys only want to make this about religion, but listen," Maddow said. "The administration made this only about religion—ask the Bishop," Castellanos said as he talked over Maddow.

Maddow ended her comment by saying that the Republican Party was "waging war on contraception at this point."

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View the slideshow below for more information about the candidates' views on women's health:

GOP Presidential Candidates On Women's Issues
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