Even when told that paying for birth control would violate the consciences of certain religious organizations, CNN's Soledad O'Brien wondered why the groups still shouldn't have to cover contraceptives for interested employees.
O'Brien cited statistics from the abortion-supportive Guttmacher Institute showing that even the vast majority of Catholic women use birth control. She then asked why so many shouldn't have the option to pursue such practices, regardless of what the Catholic Church teaches. [Video below the break. Click here for audio.]
"But a lot of their employees aren't Catholic, right?" O'Brien asked of Catholic schools and hospitals. She spun the HHS mandate as "ultimately isn't that giving an option to people who have decided not to follow the church's teaching on this?"
The CNN host asked the other guest, the ACLU's deputy legal director Louise Melling, a carefully-worded question about the freedom of churches, which are obviously exempt from the mandate, and not religious schools or hospitals, which are at the center of the controversy. "Why shouldn't someone like a church, who is against contraception, say why can't we opt out of that?" O'Brien asked.
Melling affirmed that churches are exempt, and gave her spin as to why the mandate affects other organizations. "What this rule says, however, is that institutions like hospitals and charities and schools that open their door to the public, serve primarily the public, don't have a primary purpose of inculcating religion, have to offer the same insurance everybody else does," she mused.
O'Brien used this answer to press Blackburn on the fact that since so many Catholics and non-Catholics use birth control, they should be covered for it.
Click here for a full transcript.