Free Contraceptives? Barack Obama's Birth Control Rule Not Broken by Senate
Senate Republicans didn't overturn Barack Obama's mandate that health insurance companies cover contraceptives, as Dems definitively blocked Roy Blunt's move yesterday.
The narrow 51-48 vote put an end to a misinformed measure that would have let employers and insurers to "opt out of portions of the president's health care law they found morally objectionable" -- including a clause requiring insurance companies cover birth control, according to The Associated Press.
Republicans claimed that the order violates the First Amendment -- that businesses shouldn't have to pay for medical care that conflicts with their religious beliefs.
But opponents counter that conservatives' proposed changes to the measure would have given businesses and insurance concerns free rein to deny all sorts of health care -- as long as they said that it violated their religious beliefs.
If you don't remember how this became a well-publicized polemic, this whole issue came about in January, when Obama ordered that employers cover contraception -- even those that are religiously affiliated.
Responding to concerns about religious sensitivities, he changed the language of the order, shifting the cost and regulatory burden onto insurance companies, so that faithful employers wouldn't have to pay for something objectionable to them.
Some liberal Catholics lauded Obama's call for compromise, but it wasn't enough for hard-line neo-Cons, who will pretty much stop at nothing to oppose reproductive health efforts.
Republicans' reaction to birth control infuriated women when G.O.P. Rep. Darrell Issa held a hearing to discuss Obama's mandate -- and didn't include any women as witnesses.
The nasty politicking perhaps reached its crux Thursday, when Rush Limbaugh called a young woman a "slut" for testifying in favor of the mandate.
But the Health and Human Services order might not be completely safe: It's still possible that a measure might surface in the House that would challenge it, according to Politico.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.