Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe
The Maine Twins, Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, are breaking ranks with their leader in the GOP caucus and supporting President Obama's
accommodation on the birth control rule that requires insurers, rather than employers, to pick up the cost for contraceptives for employees of religious non-profits.
“It appears that changes have been made that provide women’s health services without compelling Catholic organizations in particular to violate the beliefs and tenets of their faith,” Snowe said in a statement. “According to the Catholic Health Association, the administration ‘responded to the issues [they] identified that needed to be fixed,’ which is what I urged the president to do in addressing this situation.
“While I will carefully review the details of the president’s revised proposal, it appears to be a step in the right direction,” Collins said in a statement. “The administration’s original plan was deeply flawed and clearly would have posed a threat to religious freedom. It presented the Catholic Church with its wide-ranging social, educational, and health care services, and many other faith-based organizations, with an impossible choice between violating their religious beliefs or violating federal regulations. The administration has finally listened to the concerns raised by many and appears to be seeking to avoid the threat to religious liberties posed by its original plan."
Curiously enough, both senators co-sponsored 2001 legislation
that would have accomplished much of what President Obama's original mandate did, requiring insurance plans to cover FDA approved birth control, except their bill didn't provide an exemption for religious institutions. Snowe introduced the bill twice more, in 2005 and 2008.