Before Republican talk show host Mike Huckabee considered President Barack Obama's contraception coverage mandate an insult to women, he had signed a very similar mandate into law while serving as governor of Arkansas.
Huckabee signed state legislation in 2005 that required all health insurance plans providing prescription drug coverage to cover contraceptive drugs and devices as well. According to the Arkansas Times, Huckabee's exemption for religious organizations was actually narrower than the exemption in the Affordable Care Act:
But like the original federal regulation proposed by Obama, the Arkansas law did not exempt church-affiliated hospitals and universities. It exempts only "religious employers" that are nonprofit organizations whose primary mission is "the inculcation of religious values," and primarily employ people who share the same religion, a standard few Catholic hospitals meet.
Obama's law requires most employers and insurers to cover contraception in their plans, but it carves out an exemption for religious schools, hospitals and nonprofits in addition to churches.
Huckabee defended the scope of his state's contraception mandate at the time that he signed it. "Religious employers are not required to comply with this policy," he said. "My position is, and always has been, that religious entities shouldn't be forced to pay for contraception."
The former preacher has since changed his tune. On Thursday, Huckabee suggested at the Republican National Committee's winter meeting that Obamacare's contraception mandate is evidence of a "war on women" by the Democrats.
"If the Democrats want to insult the women of America by making them believe that they are helpless without Uncle Sugar coming in and providing for them a prescription each month for birth control, because they cannot control their libido or their reproductive system without the help of the government, then so be it," he said.