Why have Republicans allowed the family planning issue to tie their candidates up in knots in 2012? The answer is in just how outsized the influence of a minority viewpoint can be on a political party, so long as it represents the base of that party's support.
The non-compromise Obama floated does not reduce by one penny the amount of money he would force Catholics to spend on contraception. Worse, this mandate is just one manifestation of how the president's health care law will grind up the freedom of every American.
This decision is not about the administration siding with or against different interest groups. It is about siding with science, and with the right of all people to access health care that meets modern standards of appropriate care.
There is a double standard where the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is concerned: you'll start a nuclear political war with a pro-choice Democrat but allow a pro-life Republican to get away with anything.
When officials of the Catholic Church resort to claims of conscience, they are not referring to the conscience of the women who seek insurance coverage for birth control; they are referring to their own stricken conscience.
No matter what you think of the administration's decision on birth control, I think we can all agree that it was handled extremely badly from the get-go. This is not the way to roll out a contentious policy, guys and gals.
In my 15th year of Catholic education, I am very familiar with the Catholic Church's opposition to birth control despite the fact that 98 percent of Catholic women have used contraception. This underscores the huge gap between the views of the Church and practicing Catholics.