New Bill to Fix Hobby Lobby Decision is Introduced, But is it a Political Stunt?
Senate Democrats want to be very, very sure that when it comes to the new ruling that an employer can decide whether or not to cover your birth control in the company insurance plan, the country knows that this is totally the GOP’s fault. Now, to ensure that everyone is aware that it is the Republicans standing in the way of no co-pay contraception, they are introducing an emergency bill to, in essence, overrule the Supreme Court.
Too bad it will never actually become law.
The new bill, which is being drafted in the senate by Democratic Senators Patty Murphy of Washington and Mark Udall of Colorado will require all for-profit companies to provide birth control and sterilization services as required under the Affordable Care Act, regardless of the religious beliefs of the businesses owners.
Majority Leader Harry Reid has agreed to get the bill onto the floor for a vote as soon as possible, calling it a top priority. “The one thing we’re going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men,” said Reid, according to the New York Times.”This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous, and we’re going to do something about it. People are going to have to walk down here and vote, and if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think they’re going to be treated unfavorably come November with the elections.”
While it is possible the Senate could pass such a bill, the House, on the other hand, is about as likely to get similar legislation passed as Plan B is likely to cause an abortion (which is not going to happen, just in case you’ve found yourself sucked into “pro-life science” lately). Not only does the House have a significant Republican majority that has spent years blocking anything backed by the Obama administration, the entirety of the House is up for reelection in less than 120 days, making any conservatives that might want to break with the party line even less likely to out of fear of voter retribution at the polls.
While the new legislation will never become law, what it does do is drastically increase the possibility that the Republicans will fail to flip the senate on Election Day. Seats that were looking more likely than ever to turn or stay in the GOP column could be back on the table once Republican senators and candidates are forced to announce publicly whether they believe bosses should get to veto birth control coverage simply because they don’t like the idea of sex without the possibility of pregnancy being involved.
While Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has publicly vowed that he would do everything in his power to restrict abortion if he’s reelected and becomes Majority Leader, he’s been remarkably mum about whether he also believes women should have their birth control access gatekeepered by their or their family members’ employers, and there’s little doubt that this is a conversation that his Democratic challenger Alison Grimes would love to take head on.
In addition, for Iowa and Michigan there are Susan B. Anthony List-endorsed candidates that likely have their own issues with birth control, if anyone asks them about it directly, and that issue could be enough to sway those races, too. While both female candidates, by virtue of their gender, have been able to buffer the standard accusations that the GOP is anti-women, demanding answers about their own beliefs when it comes to birth control being accessible or, even worse, whether they believe hormonal birth control is in fact akin to abortion and if they would ban it outright, may show they don’t stray far from the traditional party line at all.
The Hobby Lobby response bill may be more about political theater and an attempt to boost results during the midterms than actually getting companies to adhere to the mandates of the ACA. Still, it’s a response and, frankly, that’s more than women have been seeing recently from either party. Hopefully, then, this is a sign of a change in momentum, rather than just a signal that an election is a few months away.
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