GOP Revives Efforts To Let Employers Deny Birth Control To Women

In House Republicans’ latest attack on women, Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-MT) released a labor, health, and education spending bill on Tuesday that would allow employers to deny contraception coverage for “moral reasons.”

And the bill goes further. It would stop Planned Parenthood clinics from receiving federal funding until the health organization certifies that it no longer offers abortions, despite the fact that Planned Parenthood does not use federal funds on abortion services, and it attempts to halt Obamacare funding:

The legislation also states that none of its funds can be used to carry out the Title X family planning program or be used to “implement, administer, enforce, or further the provisions” of the Affordable Care Act.

The bill scraps the provision in Obamacare that requires insurance plans to cover birth control and other preventative health services, allowing any issuer or sponsor of a group health insurance plan to refuse to cover any health care service “on the basis of religious beliefs or moral convictions.” It also increases restrictions on educating abortion physicians beyond current law and allocates $20 million for “competitive grants to provide abstinence education to adolescents.”

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers (R-KY) said the bill “reflects our strong commitment to reduce over-regulation and unnecessary, ineffective spending that feeds the nation’s deficits and hampers economic growth.” It is scheduled to be marked up in Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor and Health this morning, but it is unlikely to become law. House Democratic aides told the Huffington Post that Republicans will likely use the massive cuts to women’s health programs as a starting point in budget negotiations.


But as Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards put it, the Republican-backed budget proposal is “badly out of touch with the needs of American women and families” because it eliminates a vital family planning program and would harm women’s health services.

House Republicans have already pushed a controversial ban on sex-selective abortions, and the Senate stopped Republican Sen. Roy Blunt’s (MO) amendment that would have empowered employers to deny coverage of health services to their employees on the basis of personal moral objections. And at the state level, Republican-dominated states have enacted 39 abortion restrictions so far this year. Rehberg’s budget proposal is only the continuation in an ongoing war on reproductive health.