Remember when we said that with the Hobby Lobby decision, Republicans had won a battle but lost a war?
Republicans have handed Senate Democrats a very powerful Get Out the Vote tool. Democrats drafted a bill to protect women from for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby interfering in their medical and health needs. President Obama has just indicated that his administration supports this bill.
Noting that preventative care like contraception has significant health benefits, the Obama administration also noted that since 2013, when the coverage requirement started, utilization of preventive care under Obamacare saved women $483 million.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
S. 2578 – Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act
(Senator Murray, D-Washington, and 43 cosponsors)
The Administration strongly supports legislation that would give women affected by the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., the same coverage that everyone else is offered without interference by their employers.
Preventive health services, when accessible and affordable, have the potential to prevent disease, manage chronic illness, and save lives as well as dollars. That is why the Affordable Care Act ensures that Americans have coverage for preventive care like vaccines, cancer screenings, and contraception that medical experts have concluded are critical to the Nation’s health. According to a recent analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services, an estimated 76 million people have gained preventive services coverage since the law passed, and there are now an estimated 48.5 million women enrolled in private plans that are required to cover contraception without cost‑sharing. Contraception has significant health benefits, as documented by the independent Institute of Medicine, and coverage removes cost as a barrier to its use. One study found that in 2013, the year the coverage requirement started, utilization increased and women saved $483 million.
However, the Supreme Court’s rulings in Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Burwell, allow some employers to now withhold contraception coverage from their employees based on their own religious beliefs that their employees may not share. The Administration believes that women should make personal health care decisions for themselves, rather than their employers deciding for them.
This legislation would restore that right. It would prevent owners of for-profit companies from asserting their personal religious views to deny their employees Federally-required health benefits. At the same time, it would preserve the regulatory exemption for religious organizations like houses of worship and an accommodation for eligible nonprofit religious organizations, like some charities, that have religious objections to contraception coverage. This legislation is consistent with the congressional intent in enacting the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993.
The Administration strongly supports Senate passage of S. 2578 and remains committed to working with the Congress to improve the affordability and accessibility of health care for all Americans.
With the Hobby Lobby decision, it became obvious that there is a GOP War on Women. It became obvious that Republicans anti-Obama fever and faux pro-life stance was forcing them into a corner where they were against contraception, which is, of course, the best way to reduce abortion rates. This is not a matter of opinion, but logic backed up by evidence. It should be noted that contrary to the accusations made by Republicans, the abortion rate has dropped under President Obama.
If a person is really “pro-life”, they are going to be for things that prevent unplanned for pregnancies. If a person is really “pro-life”, they are also going to be for health initiatives that protect women, since women are human beings. Yes, rumor has it that a fetus can turn into a woman, so it makes little sense to protect a fetus only to destroy a woman’s health.
While Republicans deny rape and pretend that contraception is all about sex, women and the people who love them know better. This issue impacts most women at some point in their lives, so it wasn’t a smart move for conservatives before an election. While midterms favor Republican voters demographically, Republicans are doing their best to motivate the opposition. And the opposition, in this case, is an ever-expanding tent.
Republicans won a battle, but now that battle is being used against them in the war. Game on, GOP. Republicans are likely to obstruct the legislation today, but this is what happens when you make women angry.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.