President Barack Obama says a revamped birth control policy will both protect religious liberties and protect women's access to contraception.

Speaking at the White House, Obama announced changes to the policy that has generated criticism from religious groups and others who say it would force them to violate their faith.

Obama urged politicians not to use the complicated matter as a wedge issue.

Under the changes, religious employers will not have to cover birth control for their employees. Instead, the government will demand that insurance companies be directly responsible for providing free contraception.

The president of the Catholic Health Association, a trade group representing Catholic hospitals, says the organization is pleased with the revised rule. Sister Carol Keehan says it "responded to the issues we identified that needed to be fixed."

Planned Parenthood also backed the changes, saying the administration is still committed to making sure all women have access to birth control coverage, no matter where they work.

The White House consulted leaders on both sides to forge a decision.