Own Goal

The PillWhatever you think about the rights or wrongs of this move, its politics will do the GOP no favors:

Washington (CNN) – House Republicans have added a measure aimed at limiting contraceptive coverage to the spending bill coming up for a vote Saturday night, a spokesman for Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, told CNN.

A senior House leadership aide confirmed that development.

The so-called “conscience clause” would allow employers and insurers to opt out of preventative care for women which they find objectionable on moral or religious grounds. That prominently includes birth control, which most insurers are required to provide for free under current Obamacare rules.

With this move, House Republican leaders would give any employer or group health plan the ability to opt out of contraception coverage for the next year. That time frame syncs up with the larger measure in which this is included: a one-year delay of Obamacare provisions not yet in effect.

“This is a big deal for the congressman,” Huelskamp’s spokesman, Paul Nelson, told CNN. “He has been pushing for (the conscience clause) since he entered Congress.”

Democrats say the measure is unnecessary because the administration has granted exemptions to contraceptive coverage to religious nonprofit institutions. But advocates, such as Huelskamp, insist that all institutions should be able to opt out of any preventative coverage for women that they find objectionable.

The addition of the “conscience clause” ties a heated social issue to the already sharp shutdown debate.

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4 Responses to Own Goal

  1. Richard says:

    It appears that the libertarian position–it’s none of the government’s business whether an employer offers coverage for contraception or not–is beyond the pale these days. That would be my preferred choice. Failing that, I’ll go with the backup–employers with religious objections should be able to opt out.

  2. Tom Meyer says:

    If you’ll pardon a rhetorical question, why are religious people’s consciences valued more than those of the non-religious?

  3. Narr says:

    To give a rhetorical answer to Tom Meyer’s excellent rhetorical question: it’s obvious that in the view of most Americans non-religious people have no consciences to start with 😉

  4. Tom Meyer says:

    @Narr, oh, right. I’d forgotten. 😉

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