The kerfuffle continues over the Obama administration’s new rule about employer-paid birth control. Speaker John Boehner is threatening House action (oh, now there’s something to keep you up at night), and even some Democrats are raising concerns.
But here’s a news flash: six Republican senators once sponsored legislation to mandate federally-funded birth control.
The Obama measure closely resembles state laws providing equity in insurance coverage for contraception in six states and actually offers far more conscience protections than previous Congressional efforts to expand women’s access to birth control. For instance, a 2001 bill co-sponsored by Republicans Sens. Olympia Snowe (ME), Susan Collins (ME), Lincoln Chafee (RI), Gordon Smith (OR), John Warner (VA), Arlen Specter (PA) — S. 104 — sought to establish parity for contraceptive prescriptions within the context of coverage already guaranteed by insurance plans, but offered no opt-out clause for religious groups who opposed contraception.
“Women shouldn’t be held hostage by virtue of where they live,” Snowe told a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing in September of 2001. “It simply is not fair.” “All we’re saying in this legislation is that if health insurance plans provide coverage for prescription drugs that that coverage has to extend to FDA-approved prescription contraceptives. It’s that simple.”
But that was before we elected the Kenyan Soshulist secret Muslim. And as Steve M notes, it doesn’t hurt that there’s a small contingent of very vocal Beltway Catholics who claim to represent the entire conscience of the faith but really don’t.