Planned Parenthood to urge supporters to demand insurance coverage for birth control (photo: WeNews)

An energized and battle-tested Planned Parenthood will issue a call to action to their members today to defend the President’s birth control policy and urge the White House not to give in to the fierce lobbying from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops by altering the policy in any way detrimental to universal access.

The organization will send a message from Cecile Richards to all its members on the issue today, FDL News has leaned. According to a source, it will call for members to contact the White House, to “show your support for access to contraception for all women.” The group has also been active in social media on the birth control issue, particularly at their PPAct twitter feed.

This is the first counter-attack from a women’s health organization since the controversy erupted over the Administration’s universal access to birth control policy. In particular, the Catholic bishops and conservative organizations have decried that the religious exemption to the policy only holds for churches and non-profits, not for religiously affiliated hospitals and universities (where there are a large number of employees who do not share the same faith as the affiliation).

And it’s the first major Planned Parenthood action since the Susan G. Komen controversy of last week. Planned Parenthood received a major fundraising boost and support from across the spectrum last week after Komen attempted to cut its breast cancer screening funding. But instead of laying low and despite continued assaults from the conservative movement, Planned Parenthood will step forward and stand up for universal birth control access.

This is part of a larger counter-attack against the controversy whipped up by the Catholic bishops and others. Groups like NARAL Pro-Choice America, the National Organization for Women and EMILY’s List have publicly defended the Administration’s policy. But this Planned Parenthood action looks like the strongest yet, with outreach to all their members.

If the Administration holds firm on the access point, this is likely to boost them in November:

On Monday, senior administration officials told reporters that access to free contraceptives is not negotiable.

The policy risks alienating some voters, but Democratic pollster Geoff Garin said they were unlikely to support Obama in the first place.

“The voters who oppose this policy tend to be partisan Republicans,” Garin said. At the same time, Garin noted that the policy could create goodwill among younger women, who are most likely to vote based on birth control and abortion issues.

At least one women’s rights group is letting the White House know that personally.

David Dayen

David Dayen