In response to the Obama Administrations’ rules that insurance companies cover birth control of female employees who work with religiously affiliated organizations, Republicans are pushing legislation that would allow any employer to deny health services to employees on “moral convictions.” Among the Republicans pushing the legislation is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
On Sunday, during an appearance on Face The Nation, McConnell claimed that requiring employers to cover crucial health services for women is a violation of freedom of religion and admitted to Bob Scheiffer that he supports Roy Blunt’s legislation that would allow any employer in the nation to deny health services to employees if such services conflict with their “moral convictions.”
McConnell: “The fact that the White House thinks this is about contraception is the whole problem. This is about freedom of religion. It’s right there in the First Amendment. You can’t miss it right there in the very First Amendment to our Constitution. And the government doesn’t get to decide for religious people what their religious beliefs are.”
Scheiffer: “The [Catholic] Bishops came back and said they want to push now for stronger legislation to extend this ban on religious institutions having to buy these things, and Sen. Blunt from Missouri — one of your Republican colleagues — he wants an amendment now that would allow any group that had a moral objection to this to not have to pay for birth control pills. Are you willing to go as far a Sen. Blunt?”
McConnell: “This issue will not go away until the administration simply backs down.”
Schieffer: “Are you willing to go as far as Sen. Blunt now wants to go and just write in legislation that would ban any group that had just a — quote — moral objection, not just a religious group, but just any group. Would you be willing to push that in the Senate?”
McConnell: “Yeah. If we end up having to overcome the president’s opposition by legislation then, of course, I’d be happy to support it and intend to support it. It will be difficult as long as the president is rigid in his view that he gets to decide what somebody else’s religion is.”
Here’s the video via CBS News:
It seems Republicans are hiding behind religion a lot these days to push their agenda. They’ve used religion to deny same-sex couples their equal rights to marry and adopt children, to discriminate against employees, and now they’re using it to deprive women of birth control. Roy Blunt’s amendment is so broad and vague it could be easily abused by employers.
According to Raw Story , the National Women’s Law Center reports that the Blunt amendment would put a loophole in place that would give any employer the power “to exclude any health service” they say violates their “moral convictions.”
The NWLC states that “Any corporation whose CEO opposes contraception based on his ‘moral convictions’ could deny all coverage of contraception or any other service to the company’s employees. Even more disturbing, a CEO’s view of ‘morality’ could potentially include concern for the cost of a particular benefit. Such broad, undefined refusals (without any protections for the insured) would result in millions of individuals losing vital health service coverage.”
The real moral dilemma here is that Republicans want to allow employers to deny their employees the medical coverage they need. This isn’t about religious freedom at all. It’s about making President Obama a one term President as Mitch McConnell has wanted to do from the moment the President took office. To reach this goal, McConnell and his GOP allies have decided to oppose everything that President Obama does. So, since President Obama wants women to have access to contraceptives if they want to use them, the Republican Party immediately claims that it somehow violates religious freedom. If an employer is denying a woman contraception because he doesn’t belief she should be able to use it, that’s a direct violation of her personal liberty and privacy. It would be equivalent to that same employer telling a female employee that she can’t have sex if it isn’t with her husband or for pro-creation. This is about legislating what women do in the privacy of their own homes with their bodies. This is about men wanting to control women, and nothing else.