[Yesterday] morning, House Speaker John Boehner vowed in a House floor speech to overturn the provision in thePatient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that would require faith-affiliated hospitals and universities to include birth-control coverage in their employee health benefits. The provision, Boehner argued, “constitutes an unambiguous attack on religious freedom in our country.”
In response, U.S. Reps. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Lois Capps (D-CA) and Gwen Moore (D-WI), spoke out on behalf of the 99 percent–that is, the 99 percent of American women who have used birth control–arguing that the provision is a respectful balance between religious interests and individual conscience and freedom.
As it stands, the PPACA still includes a religious exemption, allowing houses of worship to refuse to offer contraception coverage in their employee health plans. But the National Conference of Catholic Bishops has been pressuring the Obama Administration for some time to broaden the religious exemption for contraceptive coverage to include Catholic or other religiously-affiliated schools, hospitals, universities and charities.
Speaker Boehner failed to mention that 28 states already require birth control coverage in employee health plans. Eight of those states don’t offer any religious exemption. Rep. Schakowsky argued that the religious exemption for houses of worship in the PPACA was a respectful compromise, and that many Catholic hospitals and universities already provide birth control coverage to their employees as a standard of care.
Surveys show that 99 percent of all women–and 98 percent of Catholic women–have used birth control at some point in their lives. “It’s not as controversial as they want you to believe,” Rep. Capps said. “The majority of women support this.”
Even with health insurance, contraception costs American women between $600 and $1,200 every year. While many women struggle to afford this basic health care, their husbands, fathers and brothers often have access to drugs like Viagra with no co-pay whatsoever. Full coverage for birth control and other women’s health services in the PPACA will finally bring an end to the “longstanding gender discrimination in prescription drug coverage,” said Rep. DeLauro. “Women’s health will finally be put on equal footing.”
The recent Susan G. Komen foundation fiasco showed the nation that women don’t want politics getting in the way of health care. Ultimately, the convictions of some religious leaders should not be allowed to trump the rights of millions of women employees to have access to birth control. Or, as Rep. Schakowsky put it, “Your health care benefits shouldn’t depend on who your boss is.”
Bingo, Rep Schakowsky. Also, your benefits shouldn’t depend on whether or not the U.S. Congress is being held hostage by a gang of sniveling socon assmufflers who want to dictate what literally 51% of the nation do with their bodies, but would howl like banshees if someone tried to take away their dick pills subsidy (from their cold, dead hands!)
Last word goes to Jessica Valenti:
Griswold: it’s what’s for dinner.