Senate Takes Up Birth Control Mandate

The Senate votes Thursday on the controversial Republican measure that allows any employer to refuse to insure any health condition, including providing contraception coverage, for any moral reason.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) agreed to attack Sen. Roy Blunt’s (R-MO) to an unrelated transportation bill. Reid took the procedural offensive here saying that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) insisted on tying the amendment to the legislation if Democrats wanted to advance the highway bill. Reid felt he had no choice but to agree since the highway bill would save or create 1.8 million jobs.

It can’t hurt that the public is squarely against Republicans on this issue.

“We’re in a situation in the 21st century where, in order to move forward on a highway bill that funds our highways, our roads, our bridges, our transit systems, in order to move forward on that jobs bill, where 2.8 million jobs are at stake in this great nation, we have to have a vote on birth control,” Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said on the Senate floor. “I just want to say to my friends on the other side of the aisle, what are you thinking?”

The Obama administration also went on the offensive in anticipation of Thursday’s vote, with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius offering the following statement.

Earlier this month, the Department of Health & Human Services reported that over 20 million American women in private health insurance plans have already gained access to at least one free preventive service because of the health care law. Without financial barriers like co-pays and deductibles, women are better able to access potentially life-saving services, and cancers are caught earlier, chronic diseases are managed and hospitalizations are prevented.

A proposal being considered in the Senate this week would allow employers that have no religious affiliation to exclude coverage of any health service, no matter how important, in the health plan they offer to their workers. This proposal isn’t limited to contraception nor is it limited to any preventive service. Any employer could restrict access to any service they say they object to. This is dangerous and wrong.

The Obama administration believes that decisions about medical care should be made by a woman and her doctor, not a woman and her boss. We encourage the Senate to reject this cynical attempt to roll back decades of progress in women’s health.

The administration’s tone, and the actions by Democrats, are right on the money with this issue. This is not about religious freedom but on an insistence that women’s bodies are objects of public political gamesmanship.

Related Stories:

7 States Challenge Birth Control Mandate

Catholic Bishops Campaign For Conscience Rights [Video]

Photo from brains the head via flickr.


Jo Anne P.
Jo Anne Pyne6 years ago

Why aren't the women in the Senate bringing up Viagra? If women can't have birth control pills, then man can't have Viagra. Plain and simple. Then you'd see how quickly the men in the Senate would vote against this bill. But to tie it to the transportation bill is absolutely ridiculous.

Frances C.
Frances C6 years ago

Tina G. When you get a serious disease pay for it yourself.

Frances C.
Frances C6 years ago

Birth control pills are a necessity. Viagra is not, let men pay for their own, if they must have it.

Lynda Duke
Lynda Duke6 years ago

Birth Control and Viagra/Cialis both covered by Health Insurance....there should be mandates made of Viagra/Cialis and see how the men like that??? VIAGRA/CIALIS are for men who are getting too old and want to have lots of sex before they are too old to know what it is. VIAGRA was at one time a FAILED HEART medication!

Karen Nelson
m nielsen6 years ago

Birth control is a medical topic. Do all our representatives have medical degrees? If not, they are not qualified to even discuss this topic. Without medical degrees, they practicing medicine without a license?

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush6 years ago

To Eugene W. and any other like-thinkers: Is your knowledge so limited, that you don't comprehend, that not President Obama, nor any other person, can change the gas prices.
That is completely, determined by the oil companies. The U.S. is drilling and exporting more oil, than we are importing. The oil companies, themselves, decide where and when the oil goes, and what the cost should be.
We have given them 'free range'.

Charlene Rush
Charlene Rush6 years ago

I must say profoundly:
Any Republican woman, who votes for ending birth control is one of three things.......
1. A hypocrite and liar
2. Sterile
3. Dislikes sex and doesn't engage in sexual activity

If perchance, she does not fall under these 3, and is having one baby after another, she is in serious need of therapy.
That may have been fine 100 years ago, but in the 21th century, she should have learned that she has value, other than being a baby machine.

I must repeat: If men became pregnant, carried fetures for 9 months, and delivered babies, ABORTION would be a sacrament.

Juliet D.
judith sanders6 years ago

Does it never occur to them that a woman boss might decide that impotence treatments are icky and frivolous? Why should an employer pick up the tab for something that's not medically necessary? No man ever died from not being able to get an erection.

Helen K.
Helen K6 years ago

Oh Geez, another giant leap backwards for America. We are in the 21st century, this discussion is only still relevant in developing countries due to ignorance not morality. If you want to drag your lifestyle down, go ahead and reproduce yourselves back into the dark ages where you may not get any food on your family's table. This makes us the laughing stock of the civilized world.

Charli S.
Charlotte S6 years ago

Tina G you can't recycle condoms. They are only effective once. Birth control prevents abortions. Each unwanted child that is not created is one less abortion. And our planet can not support so many human beings. People die every day because they lack water, food, and basic rights.

This is not a religious rights issue it's a quality of life issue and it could have been avoided if we had a one payer system like most civilized countries.