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Sens. Tom Coburn, Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma back bill to reverse policy on contraception coverage

As the controversy continues over Obama administration's policy affecting health plans offered by religious institutions, a top campaign aide to the president suggest a compromise may be offered.
BY CHRIS CASTEEL Published: February 8, 2012

— Oklahoma's senators have signed on to a bill aimed at reversing the Obama administration's decision to require hospitals, universities and other entities with a religious affiliation to cover contraception services as part of employees' health benefits.

Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Muskogee, and Jim Inhofe, R-Tulsa, are co-sponsoring a bill by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., that would establish a broader religious exemption from the health care law's requirement that contraception services be covered by employer-sponsored policies.

Inhofe said the administration's policy was “an unconstitutional government intrusion against religious freedom.”

“In the past, Congress has acted to safeguard health care providers' freedom of expression and action, and it is time for Congress to once again act, placing a check on President Obama's abuse of power,” Inhofe said.

Other Oklahoma lawmakers signed a letter this week to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius protesting the policy, which exempts churches and gives other employers, such as hospitals and universities, until August 2013 to comply with the law.

Rep. John Sullivan, R-Tulsa, said, “I am calling on the administration to reverse this controversial rule to ensure that any organization or individual that opposes abortion and the mandatory coverage of drugs, such as Plan B and Ella, is not forced to abandon their religious beliefs to comply with a law.”

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