It took a while but finally some level-heads in the Republican party are speaking up in support of the Obama administration’s accommodation of some religious-based objections to the birth control mandate in the Affordable Care Act.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine have broken ranks with their leadership and have publicly supported the new rule. “It appears that changes have been made that provide women’s health services without compelling Catholic organizations in particular to violate the beliefs and tenets of their faith,” Snowe said in a statement. “According to the Catholic Health Association, the administration ‘responded to the issues [they] identified that needed to be fixed,’ which is what I urged the president to do in addressing this situation.
In 2001 Snowe authored and Collins co-sponsored a bill that prohibited insurance plans from excluding contraceptives from prescription benefits. That bill contained no religious exemption as written though both Senators were on record of supporting a conscious clause at the time.
It’s no surprise that the usually-moderate Senators from Maine are the first to vocally oppose the continued politicking of women’s lives. Snowe and Collins may ultimately be spitting into the wind as the Republican ideology on this point is pretty clear: make it possible for any employer to pick and chose health benefits and make sure that access to affordable, quality reproductive health services is simply out of reach for American women.
Photo from JayRockefellerIV via flickr.