WASHINGTON--Starting in August, women in the U.S. will get free birth control from their health insurance.
The exceptions are women who work for a religious organization--such as the Catholic Church--allowed to opt out of mandatory coverage.
Many people are aware President Obama last Friday had to backtrack some--and broaden the new coverage regulation in order to allow other kinds of religious employers--such as a hospital or non-profit--to not provide the coverage. In the compromise, those women workers still get the free coverage--directly through their health insurance carriers.
That compromise was good enough for many Catholic organizations--not the Catholic bishops--and now, not good enough for a handful of Senators who want to ban the coverage for any kind of religious employer and--taking it MUCH FURTHER--allow any employer not to cover contraception if it violates the employer's moral or religious beliefs.
How about letting a woman decide if she wants to use birth control?
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. -- much mentioned as a possible GOP vice presidential candidate and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have an amendment that would allow any employer to deny birth control coverage if it runs counter to their religious or moral beliefs.
Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has an amendment--tacked on to the Transportation Bill, for heaven's sake-- to let health insurers have the right to ban coverage on conscience grounds.
"The amendment offered by Sen. Blunt would allow your boss to make your private medical decisions for you and decide what kind of health care coverage you received," said Stephanie Schriock, President of EMILY's List. "That is simply un-American. The core of our democracy is individual liberty - that means making our own choices to be healthy and successful.
"This amendment goes so far beyond birth control - employers and corporations could decide to deny any kind of coverage to workers for any reason they wanted. Women and men everywhere should be outraged at this attack on American values. This country was built on individual freedom to reach the American dream - and that means making our own economic and family decisions.
"If Missouri knew that instead of the promised focus on jobs, this was the kind of leadership they could expect from Roy Blunt and the Republicans, you can bet election day 2010 would have looked a lot different. This battle only underscores the need to send more pro-choice Democratic women to Washington so we can fight these attacks on our liberty at the source. Democratic women in Congress are standing up to the right and their regressive agenda - and EMILY's List is ready to send them reinforcements in November."