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Obama Administration Issues Proposal On Birth Control Coverage

(The top of this post and our headline was updated at 1:35 p.m. ET.)

"The Obama administration on Friday proposed a work-around for religious nonprofits that object to providing health insurance that covers birth control," The Associated Press reports.

The wire service writes that the proposal "attempts to create a barrier between religious groups and contraception coverage, through insurers or a third party, that would still give women free access to contraception. It wasn't immediately clear whether would accept the approach, or whether it would stem the tide of lawsuits across the country that have challenged the requirement to provide such coverage."

NPR's Julie Rover tells us that today's proposals offer more specifics about policies the administration first laid out last year.

Our original post form 11:41 a.m. ET and earlier updates:

"The Obama administration is announcing a broader opt-out for religious nonprofits that object to providing health insurance that covers birth control," The Associated Press reports.

According to the wire service:

"The administration is allowing religious nonprofits to offer coverage that does not include contraception. In such a case, a third-party issuer will handle all business related to providing birth-control coverage for women, according to a source familiar with the changes who spoke only on condition of anonymity."

Some educational, charitable and other institutions, as NPR's Julie Rovner has reported, have argued that "requiring coverage of birth control in most health insurance plans violates their religious freedom."

Last year, Julie reported, "President Obama tried to defuse the controversy ... after religious groups complained that the exemption from the requirement, which applied effectively only to actual houses of worship and groups that employ only members of a specific faith, was too narrow."

Watch for more on this over at the Shots blog and on All Things Considered.

Update at 12:15 p.m. ET. More From The Administration:

There's an official posting of the administration's "fact sheet" here. The proposed rules are available here.

Update at 11:50 a.m. ET. The Administration's Plan:

The Wall Street Journal has posted "text of the fact sheet on the proposed rules released Friday."

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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