Fourteen Republican members of the House of Representatives reintroduced a bill on Tuesday that would exempt unwilling employers from a requirement that their employee health insurance plans include contraceptive coverage. They are also trying to get the language included in the Continuing Resolution to extend funding for operation of the federal government. The bill's cosponsors said in a letter, "Nothing short of a full exemption for both nonprofit and for-profit entities will satisfy the demands of the Constitution and common sense."
A broad coalition of women's groups led by Planned Parenthood released their own letter (see PDF) in response to the move. The letter concluded, "Including language in a continuing resolution or omnibus appropriations measure to restrict women's access to birth control would be bad policy and is contrary to our shared goals of improving women's health. We respectfully urge you to reject efforts to politicize the appropriations process for the remainder of fiscal year 2013 and oppose riders that are harmful to women's health."
The Department of Health and Human Services released proposed rules in January to operationalize that health insurance coverage under the ACA must provide birth control without co-pays or deductibles. Under the proposed rules, employees who work at religiously affiliated institutions such as hospitals and universities/colleges will be covered seamlessly by the insurance provider or plan administrator. The sole exception within the proposed rules is narrowly construed to only houses of worship that object and can deny coverage to their employees.
Media Resources: The Hill 3/5/2013; Coalition Letter 3/5/2013; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/1/2013
7/29/2015 Jen Welter Just Made NFL History - Jen Welter was hired as a coach for the Arizona Cardinals this week, becoming the first woman ever to be a National Football League coach. . . .
7/27/2015 Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell Blocked Efforts to Defund Planned Parenthood - An attempt in the Senate to defund Planned Parenthood by Mike Lee (R-UT) was blocked this weekend by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). Lee tried to attach the elimination of federal funds for Planned Parenthood to a vote for highway legislation, a move which was rejected by McConnell as out of order.
Republican legislators have redoubled their efforts to block funding for Planned Parenthood since the release of two heavily edited clandestine videos of different PPFA employees taken without their knowledge. . . .