Nightly News | February 07, 2012
>> tonight on the growing political battle over women's health and reproductive rights that sprung up on several fronts in these recent days including a fight over birth control and religious freedom . our report tonight from white house correspondent kristen welker.
>> reporter: the chorus of voice against the white house grew louder today a er today as republican senators took aim at the decision requiring religious affiliated institutions to include birth control in health insurance plans.
>> no one in the united states , no one, should ever be compelled by their government to choose between violating their religious beliefs and being penalized for refusing.
>> this is wrong. i think people know it's wrong. this is something that cannot be allowed to stand.
>> reporter: democrats played defense.
>> don't punish women again, don't try to. under the administration plan, churches are respected.
>> reporter: the ground swell started in large part by outraged catholic clergy .
>> never before has the federal government forced individuals and organizations to go out into the marketplace and buy a product that violates their consequence conscience.
>> reporter: the administration says religiously owned providers should not be allowed to impose their faith on non-catholic employees. the rule does not apply to church themselves.
>> and we certainly don't want to abridge anyone's religious freedom . we're going to look for a way to move forward.
>> reporter: and in this volatile election year, republican candidates have been chiming in.
>> this is a decision so totally outrageous.
>> we must have a president who is willing to protect america's first right, a right to worship god .
>> reporter: supporter also say the constitute mandates a separation of church and state , but even some liberal democrats are crying foul. kristen welker, nbc news, the white house . .