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House GOP Goes After Contraception Coverage. Again.

House GOP Goes After Contraception Coverage. Again.

Wisconsin Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R) is the author of a new bill designed to bar the federal government from punishing employers who fail to provide contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The Religious Freedom Tax Repeal Act is co-sponsored by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn) and would erase the taxes employers face if they choose not to cover certain healthcare benefits because those benefits conflict with their moral or religious beliefs. Predictably Sensenbrenner offered a “sky-is-falling” rationale for the bill. “If these taxes are levied and they are enforced, there will be no religious-affiliated institutions left in this country,” he said at a press conference Tuesday.

“Religious-affiliated institutions have been one of the ways that there has been diversity provided in education, in healthcare, and in various types of social services,” Sensenbrenner said. “I donít think they should be taxed out of business, and neither do my co-sponsors.”

Under the health care law churches and houses of worship are exempt from the coverage mandate entirely. Religious-affiliated institutions like Catholic hospitals and schools don’t have to pay for the coverage through their own plans. Instead their employees can get contraception directly from the insurer, and still without a co-pay.

Republicans argue that the mandate violates the religious freedom of people who object to birth control, and have voiced support for the Catholic and other religious groups litigating to eradicate the mandate on those grounds. The Catholic Association, which calls itself a “faithful Catholic voice” in the public arena, has vowed to “fully engage the Catholic grassroots” in support of the bill and given the talking points used to introduce it, we can be all but certain it was given to the bishops for their approval first.

Related Stories:

Gov. Brewer Signs ‘Tell Your Boss You’re On The Pill’ Bill

Obama Administration Expands Contraception Coverage Again

GOP Forms Lobbying Group To Fight Contraceptive Coverage

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53 comments

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9:12AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

If congress doesn't get on employment and economy and off this kick to keep womens rights down nothing will be done again unless the president just writes it in law and by passes them. Can't wok with far right or tea party. so just go around them.

9:00AM PST on Feb 21, 2013

You know ahead of time befor going to work in a Catholic Hospital they don't support abortions, unless Mothers life is in or ar risk if don't have one. It is your choice you can either go to work for them or go to another hospital to work. That is your choice.Who ever pays your paycheck has the right not to fund these things, that is their right , but it is your right not to work for them. Your choice.

12:19PM PDT on Sep 26, 2012

The gop is crazy they must GO 2012 vote DEM ------- OBAMA in 2012 !!!

3:02PM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

What about the "religious freedoms" of people who approve of birth control? Why should they be forced to obey other people's religious injunctions? Do we violate the "religious freedoms" of observant Muslims by not forcing every woman, Muslim or not, to wear a hijab?

11:38AM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

People who "object to birth control" have every right not to use it; but I fail to see why they should have the right to prevent their employees from using it if that is their choice. As explained above, the employers don't have to pay for it: they simply cannot deny their employees the same "freedom of conscience" they profess for themselves. These employers could always choose to employ only their own church members--oh, wait: since a great majority of Catholics (and, one presumes, most other conservative denominations) use birth control, that wouldn't be very effective, would it?

The issue is simple: does an employer have the legal right to regulate the sexual and reproductive activities of his/her employees? Slavery having ended over 100 years ago, I'm pretty sure the answer is "no".

7:32AM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

The president's jobs bill hasn't even had a vote in the House of Representatives. They've been "working" on denying benefits to women. Women need to take notice and contact their reps.

5:43AM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

It's not the federal government's job to "punish" employers.....

It's the federal government's job to make sure those employers keep on employing!

That will not be accomplished by FORCE... an ever increasing trait it seems - of the Obama administration....

5:42AM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

Rebecca Lynn, my dear, don't you know that if a conservative's daughter comes home pregnant (or his son announces that his girlfriend is pregnant), they'll arrange for a very discreet abortion? Yes, the antichoice do have abortions, you know; they just don't want YOU to have that option. I even heard one story about a woman who would protest regularly outside a clinic where abortions are performed, one day needed its services, and very shortly thereafter was protesting the very same clinic again.

As for not working for not working for a place connected with the Catholic Church, that's rather hard, given that they are taking over a LOT of hospitals and health care facilities. They have bought or started a number of secular organizations. The problem is when they are serving non-Catholics whose religious views vary.

12:21AM PDT on Jul 13, 2012

Interesting info. Thank you.

11:10PM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

Insane. Best word I can come up with. There has never been, nor will there ever will be such thing as separation of church and state. Maybe these holier than thou Republicants will stand up and take notice when their sweet little girls begin coming home pregnant. And any workplace that is connected to the Catholic Church DOES have the right to refuse to offer birth control to women. If it's run by, funded by , no matter how nutso we think it is, they do in fact have that right. My advice to women who disagree with their teachings and beliefs, is to never work for any such place. . (Which includes myself and just about every woman I know).

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