Senate Democrats

Republicans Overreach With Sweeping Assault On Women’s Health

Declaring “There Is No Room For Compromise,” Republicans Push For Extreme Measures That Would Let Any Employer – Secular Or Religious – Deny Women Access To Range Of Critical Health Services, Including Mammograms, Sonograms and Contraception

Republicans Ignoring Polls Showing Broad Support For Administration Compromise – Including Among Catholic Women

New Push Is Just The Latest In Litany Of Republican Efforts To Curtail Women’s Access To Health Services

DECLARING “THERE IS NO ROOM FOR COMPROMISE,” REPUBLICANS VOW TO PURSUE EXTREME MEASURES TO RESTRICT WOMEN’S ACCESS TO HEALTH SERVICES.

Sen. McConnell Pledges Senate Vote On Blunt Proposal To Give Employers Unprecedented Power To Deny Women Access To Critical Health Services. SCHIEFFER: “Well I guess what I’m asking you though is are you willing as far as Senator Blunt now wants to go and just write in legislation that would ban any group that had just a, quote, moral objection, not just a religious group but just any group that had a moral objection to that? Would you be willing to push that in the senate?” MCCONNELL: “Yeah. You know, if we end up having to try to overcome the president’s opposition by legislation, of course, I’d be happy to support it and intend to support it. It would be difficult as long as the president is rigid in his view that he gets to decide what somebody else’s religion is. I assume he would veto it. But yeah, we’ll be voting on that in the Senate. And you can anticipate that that would happen as soon as possible.” [Face the Nation, 2/13/12]

Speaker Boehner Vows Push To Restrict Women’s Access To Contraception.  “House Republicans say religious leaders are not convinced the White House contraception compromise ‘doesn’t constitute an attack on religious freedom, which has been a fundamental American right for more than 200 years,’ a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner said Friday. He urged the president to work with the Catholic bishops, and in the meantime the House would work on legislation ‘that respects all Americans’ constitutional rights.’” [Politico Pro, 2/10/12]

Sen. Coats: “There Is No Room For Compromise.” “Today’s announcement changes nothing. Whether religious employers are forced to pay directly for contraceptives and abortion-inducing drugs or to act as facilitators, their religious liberty remains compromised. But what the president fails to understand is that when it comes to freedom of religion – a core American principle – there is no room for compromise.” [Press Release, 2/10/12]

Sen. Hatch: Anything Short Of Full GOP Position “Is No Compromise.” “This is about religious freedom, and anything short of a full exemption is no compromise” [Press Release, 2/10/12]

Sen. Blunt: Administration Compromise Is An “Accounting Gimmick.” “Just because you can come up with an accounting gimmick and pretend like religious institutions do not have to pay for the mandate, does not mean that you’ve satisfied the fundamental constitutional freedoms that all Americans are guaranteed. I’ll continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that we reverse this unconstitutional mandate in its entirety.” [Press Release, 2/10/12]

Sen. Johanns: Repeal Entire Mandate. “Though he may call this a compromise, asking people of faith to turn their backs on their deeply held beliefs is anything but. The one thing you cannot compromise is your conscience, and the only way to avoid this dilemma is to repeal the mandate and protect fundamental rights granted by the Constitution.” [Press Release, 2/10/12]

Sen. Rubio: Solution Is Full Repeal Of Health Reform. “It’s good that the president reaffirmed that the federal government cannot force faith-based institutions to provide services that they teach are wrong. Unfortunately, as more of these rules are written, our constitutional rights will continue to be threatened by the administration’s policy goals. This issue exemplifies the problem with putting the federal government in charge of health care, and shows why we must fully repeal Obamacare.” [Sunshine State News, 2/10/12]

REPUBLICANS BACK RADICAL PROPOSAL TO ALLOW EMPLOYERS TO DENY COVERAGE FOR CONTRACEPTION AND OTHER CRITICAL HEALTH SERVICES TO WOMEN

Senator Blunt’s Proposal Lets Any Employer Deny Anyone Access to Health Care.  As part of their ongoing effort to politicize women’s health, Senator Blunt’s extreme measure would essentially allow any employer or health plan to decide not to provide any essential health benefit or preventive service to any American.

  • Under Blunt Proposal, Any Employer Could Invoke Vague “Moral Conviction” To Deny Health Services To Employees.  The Blunt measure would allow employers and insurance companies to deny coverage of any health service – not limited to birth control – based on “religious beliefs or moral convictions.” This definition is so broad, for example, that CEO’s with a “moral objection” to Type 2 Diabetes or HIV screening could deny coverage of these services to all employees. [NWLC, 2/10/12]
  • Employers Could Discriminate Against Individuals Under Blunt Proposal. The Blunt proposal would allow health plans to discriminate against individuals based on sex, race, color, national origin, age, and disability. As a result, if a CEO of an insurance company had a “moral objection” to out-of-wedlock births, the company could deny single, pregnant women access to routine sonograms. [NWLC, 2/10/12]
  • Blunt Proposal Creates An Unprecedented Right of Action for “Threatened” Violations. Any individual would have the right to file a lawsuit in Federal court for actual or “threatened violations.” As a result, state officials might be less likely to enforce any law which could be perceived as a threat, thereby resulting in further restricted access to critical services. [NWLC, 2/10/12]

POLLS SHOW AMERICANS – INCLUDING CATHOLICS – BROADLY SUPPORTS BIRTH CONTROL BENEFIT

Poll: Fifty Six Percent of Voters Support Birth Control Benefit.  According to a poll conducted by PPP, 56 percent of voters support the birth control benefit, while only 37 percent are opposed, with women supporting the measure by a margin of 63 -29 percent.  Among independents 55 percent support it while only 36 percent oppose it.  [PPP, 2/10/11]

Poll: Fifty Three Percent of Catholics Support Birth Control Benefit.  According to a poll conducted by PPP, 53 percent of Catholics support  the birth control benefit while only 44 percent are opposed.  [PPP, 2/10/11]

THIS IS JUST THE LATEST IN LITANY OF REPUBLICAN EFFORTS TO CURTAIL WOMEN’S ACCESS TO HEALTH SERVICES

Republicans Threatened to Shut Down the Government to Defund Planned Parenthood.  In April 2011, during the debate over funding the government, Republicans threatened to shut down the federal government in order to gut women’s access to healthcare. [ABC News, 4/8/11]

235 House Republicans Voted To Eliminate All Funding For Title X, Jeopardizing Critical Preventive Health Services for Women.  HR.1, the House Republican’s spending bill eliminated $327 million from Title X, whose providers served close to 5 million women with preventive services including screenings for breast and cervical cancer. [Wall Street Journal, 2/9/11; H.R. 1; Vote 147, 2/19/11]

Republican Budget Raised Prescription Drug Prices on 2 Million Women. The House Republican budget re-opened the Medicare Part D prescription drug “donut hole.”  As a result, senior women would have had to pay an additional $599 on average under the Republican proposal. [HHS, 2/2/12]

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