Senate To Debate GOP Plan To Allow Religous ‘Opt Out’ From Birth Control Rule
The proposal is expected to be offered as an amendment this week to a transportation bill being considered by the Senate.
Roll Call: Birth Control Rule May Take Center Stage This Week
Like two boxers returning to the center of the ring, Senate Democrats and Republicans return from a weeklong recess this week to debate and vote on a GOP proposal that would allow companies and insurance providers to opt out of mandated birth control coverage for religious reasons. Democrats are eagerly anticipating the debate because they see an opportunity to use the issue for political gain in the upcoming November elections. The GOP proposal — expected to be offered as an amendment sometime this week to a transportation bill currently being considered by the Senate — would "give employers an unprecedented license to dictate what women and men can have covered," said Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) on a conference call with reporters Friday (Sanchez and Staton, 2/26).
Meanwhile, news outlets continue to analyze the rule's specifics, as well as its political implications.
Kaiser Health News: Five Questions About The Health Law's Mandate To Cover Birth Control
Kaiser Health News staff writer Julie Appleby writes: "While controversy over one aspect of the Obama administration's contraception rule – whether and when religiously affiliated employers must comply – has dominated recent headlines, that debate has obscured other questions about how the rules will actually be implemented" (Appleby, 2/27).
Politico Pro: Questions About Contraception Rule
Questions abound about how the rule — issued by HHS in January — works, how it will be enforced and how it interacts with other rules and regulations being developed to implement the health care law. All that becomes more important as a growing number of religious employers declare they will refuse to comply with the requirement despite the president’s concessions. In several states, lawmakers have introduced legislation seeking to undermine the federal rule (Feder, 2/27).
San Francisco Chronicle: Birth Control Issue Rankles Women Of Both Parties
The sputtering economy and fast-rising gas prices fire the passions of California Republicans when the objective is beating President Obama in the 2012 election. Which is why not all state GOP activists are happy that the party's candidates and elected officials keep making headlines on another issue - birth control. "It's a losing proposition," Gail Neira, head of the San Francisco Republican Bay Area Alliance, said as she roamed the state GOP convention in Burlingame over the weekend. Especially, she said, when it appears most of the talk is coming from male presidential candidates and officeholders (Marinucci, Garofoli, 2/27).
The Associated Press/Boston Globe: Insurance Fight Shows Catholic-Evangelical Ties
After the White House decreed this month that religious employers would have to pay for workers' birth control, it was no surprise that Roman Catholic leaders would protest. That evangelical Protestants would rally to their cause was less expected and unthinkable even a generation ago... Contraception is one of the very issues that have been a wedge between Catholics and evangelical Protestants for decades. But for Protestants who've rallied to the Catholic bishops' side, the question this time is one of religious liberty rather than dogma (Breen, 2/25).