WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama's top political adviser is defending the administration's decision requiring church-affiliated employers to cover birth control for their workers, calling it "important for millions of women around the country."
David Axelrod concedes the move has caused a rift between the White House and the Roman Catholic Church. And he's urging people to "lower our voices" and get together on a way to phase in the new policy over the next year and a half.
Catholic leaders have condemned the regulation put out by the Department of Health and Human Services.
Axelrod tells MSNBC Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius acted on the Institute of Medicine's recommendation, and that she exempted the churches themselves. He says administration officials "certainly don't want to abridge anyone's religious freedom."
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