Washington launched into a tizzy yesterday after David Axelrod's Morning Joe appearance, in which he signaled that the administration might be willing to soften its stance mandating that Catholic institutions provide birth control coverage for employees. "We certainly don't want to abridge anyone's religious freedoms," Axelrod said, "so we're going to look for a way to move forward that both provides women with the preventive care that they need and respects the prerogatives of religious institutions."
White House aides met with reproductive rights groups later, assuring them that administration policy wasn't changing, Politico reports. One official says the goal of broadening birth control access won't change but that the mechanism might. In Hawaii, for example, religious institutions can decline contraceptive coverage, but must give their employees info about alternatives. That doesn't thrill women's health advocates—the head of Catholics for Choice says Hawaii's system "would not be in any way acceptable" (Read more David Axelrod stories.)