Today's winner: Women who work for religious institutions and nonprofits.

Ninety-nine percent of American women---and 98 percent of Catholic women---will use a form of birth control other than the "rhythm method" in their lifetimes. Nonetheless, a group of conservative Catholic bishops have been pressuring President Obama to exempt all religious and "quasi-religious" institutions from the federal requirement, part of Obama's health-care reform law, that all health care providers must provide birth control free of charge. The exemption was poised to impact millions of women working for hospitals, churches, social service agencies, and universities across the country,

The good news? Today, Obama backed downfrom his tentative support for the bishops' proposed exemption, ordering health care plans at religiously affiliated institutions (but not churches themselves) to provide no-cost birth control starting August 1, 2013 (a year later than all other health care providers must start providing free birth control).

“I believe this proposal strikes the appropriate balance between respecting religious freedom and increasing access to important preventive services," health and human services secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement.

Under the health-care law, birth control is considered a preventive service, because it prevents pregnancy---a life-altering medical condition.
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