Speaking at Iowa State University on Thursday, Vice President Joe Biden told students that the first version of the Obama administration's recently announced contraception law was "screwed up," reports Politico. Biden said:
"What is happening now is that, we have been able to provide what was hard to set up--it got screwed up in the first iteration--is that any hospital, no matter where it is, no matter who runs it, profit or nonprofit, religious-based or otherwise, has to provide insurance to their employees like everybody else does in the country, or pay a penalty for not providing insurance for employees..."
In February, the Obama administration mandated that Catholic-run hospitals must provide their employees with birth control free of charge, even though the religion's official orthodoxy forbids the practice.
Catholic officials led a fierce backlash to the law, and days later Obama announced a compromise: Under the revised law, women will still have access to free birth control, but it will be provided by insurance companies, not religious-run institutions.
ABC News reported that behind the scenes, an internecine White House debate raged. It pitted Biden and then-chief of staff William Daley, who warned that forcing religious institutions to provide birth control was a political and moral misstep, against a larger group that included senior adviser David Plouffe and Health And Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
Despite Biden's warnings, the White House was apparently taken aback by the pushback from religious groups after the initial policy was announced.