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Friday, October 28, 2016

When the GOP attempts to deny women access to contraception in the lead-up to a government shutdown, it’s hard to see how the party hopes to regain women’s support.

Yesterday the federal government shut down for the first time in two decades due, in part, to the GOP’s growing opposition to contraception. Republicans are intent on rolling back women’s rights, and this time they are holding the federal government hostage in an attempt to advance their agenda.

With less than a day until the government would shut it doors, House Republicans put forth a spending bill that would enable employers, universities, and health insurance companies to deny coverage for contraception based on moral or religious beliefs. The bill would delay the “contraceptive mandate” – an Affordable Care Act provision that requires coverage of contraceptive and reproductive health services without co-pays – until January 2015. More broadly, the bill would delay the implementation of most ACA provisions for another year and would repeal a tax central to the law’s financing. Of course, delaying the law by a year is simply an attempt to overturn it altogether. Even Mitt Romney, who as governor of Massachusetts implemented the very health overhaul on which the ACA is modeled, said a delay is the most strategic path to repeal.

The past few years have been an exercise in Republican tenacity as the party attempts to sink President Obama’s landmark domestic policy achievement. The fact that Obama won a second term in a decisive victory, the U.S. Congress passed Obamacare into law, and the U.S. Supreme Court deemed it constitutional are all apparently meaningless.

The GOP, hijacked by the right wing of its party, is redefining what it means to lose. Elizabeth Warren said it best on Sunday:

In a democracy, hostage tactics are the last resort for those who can’t win fights through elections, can’t win fights in Congress, can’t win fights for the presidency, and can’t win their fights in the courts. For this right-wing minority, hostage-taking is all they have left: a last gasp for those who cannot cope with the realities of our democracy.

Since 2010, Republicans have voted 43 times to overturn the ACA. They have challenged the contraceptive mandate ad nauseam, have protested the employer mandate, and at the state level have refused to participate in the Medicaid expansion that would extend benefits to millions of uninsured, low-income individuals.

And President Obama, to the consternation of some on the left, has made concessions in hopes of advancing his overall agenda. Earlier this year, he compromised on the contraceptive mandate by enabling a broader group of self-defined faith-based organizations to qualify for a religious exemption, creating an accommodation where employees of those organizations can obtain full family planning coverage directly from insurance companies. He has responded to complaints from business lobbyists by agreeing to delay the employer mandate until 2015. (That provision requires employers with more than 50 full-time employees to offer affordable coverage for their workers, including children and young adults up to age 26.)

Republicans emphatically insist they are acting in the best interest of the American people. They aren’t. The ACA is good for women and for the entire nation. It has already expanded contraceptive coverage to millions of women, and within the next three years, approximately 13 million more uninsured women will be able to access affordable family planning and reproductive health services. The law will enable the majority of American women to access annual well-woman visits, screenings for cancer and STDs, maternal health care, emergency contraception, and pregnancy testing and counseling. Because of the ACA, individuals with pre-existing conditions will be able to get coverage and gender discrimination by insurance providers will be illegal. This law represents the most significant advancement in women’s reproductive health in nearly a century.

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • Annemb

    For some reason, the T-Republican war on women reminds me of the “witch burning” initiated by the Catholic Church in which 3,000,000 were burned, drowned, victims of the Inquisition, etc. of which 85% were women.

  • sigrid28

    It is becoming increasingly self-evident that the GOP war on women is also a war on children, whose health at birth comes under attack through a failure to provide safe birth control and adequate prenatal health care, both provisions of the ACA. The party’s stand against food assistance programs like SNAP and WIC, especially, has direct effects on the well-being of infants and the youngest Americans, many of whom are in the primary care of women. Failure to adequately fund Head Start and other educational programs make up the next flank of the GOP’s attack on children. In fact, one of the most pernicious supports for the GOP’s cavalier disregard for educational funding is that women have so long been the mainstays of education–and medicine, too, for that matter. Further, Republican opposition to endorsing the provisions of the ADA internationally can be tied to the fact that women have been designated caregivers of the disabled from the dawn of time. My conclusion: Republican misogyny has no limits. Under these conditions, its policies also put the lives and well-being of all of our children–as well as the disabled–at risk.

    • johninPCFL

      You miss the point. Once born, children become a liability. They are a liability because they may grow up and vote anti-GOP.

      • Allan Richardson

        So it would make more sense for the Republicans to PROMOTE birth control and abortion for poor women, wouldn’t it? Oh right, if they can make sure the children are BORN, but later STARVE or die of diseases that could be prevented by HEALTH CARE (or gunshots that could be prevented by BACKGROUND CHECKS), or if the voting laws can be rigged to keep them from voting anyway, the same result is accomplished albeit less mercifully than by abortion.

        • RobertCHastings

          But if they decrease the population, that would lead to reapportionment, which this time might not go their way.

      • RobertCHastings

        That’s like having your left foot amputated because it might someday step on your right foot, tripping you up. Well, for a Republican, that is logical. However, to take action in anticipation of something that very likely will NOT happen is just plain stupid.

  • jnsgraphic

    We need to somehow get through to the women who continue to vote Republican despite the fact that the policies being pursued by their party are damaging and detrimental to them. Republicans don’t like Obamacare because they don’t want insurance companies to offer preventive measures for women, yet some women still vote republican. Other than ‘Stepford Wives’ in red states… why are women still voting Republican???

    • highpckts

      Example – I have a cousin that would never think of crossing or disagreeing with her Husband! She asks for permission for a beer when they go out to eat! These women have their heads so far up their husbands rear they are totally lost!

      • jnsgraphic

        ITS TIME TO WAKE UP!!!

  • Allan Richardson

    Because there are some religious groups that oppose ANY imaginable medical treatment as sinful, a so-called “conscience clause” could allow bosses to deny their employees not only birth control, but blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses), organ transplants (JW’s and some ULTRA-Orthodox Jews), transplants of porcine valves (some Jews and some Muslims), or even ANY MEDICAL PLAN AT ALL (some extremist Christian Scientists and evangelical splinter sects). All because you have a BOSS whose religion opposes the medically necessary treatment, you could DIE.

    • latebloomingrandma

      True. If the precedent is set, then can companies whose CEO’s or by religious affiliation deny benefits to same sex married couples when it becomes legal everywhere because it offends their religious consciences?

      • Allan Richardson

        I hadn’t thought of that NEXT step; I was concentrating on what KINDS of medical procedures would be denied. But come to think of it, gender reassignment surgery (and even the HUGE amount of counseling that medical ethics requires to prepare for it) would certainly be a target.

        And in the case of one religion currently popular in Hollywood, they would object to covering ANY kind of psychiatric or psychological care.

        Personally, I would prefer that employment benefits be based upon who is (or was in the past, in the case of adult children) living in the same house as the employee, and is chosen by the employee, regardless of the REASON for living in the same house, or the nature of their relationship. Parent, child, sibling, in-law, ex-in-law, straight “partner,” gay “partner,” straight or gay spouse, or just roommate to share the cost of housing (remember Three’s Company?), just choose a maximum of X people who form your household.

  • howa4x

    The GOP should be aptly name the Vaginal Party since their are obsessed with that part of a women’s anatomy. This why Red state after red state passed some sort of vaginally intrusive bill. There is limited medical efficacy to a trans vaginal probe, since a simple sonogram and blood test would do the same task, namely identify the presence of a fetus. But that would not humiliate a women like the trans probe would do. Whether it was done to simply scare young women or by obsession it has woken up a sleeping giant. Now women are far more aware of the republican agenda. So shutting down the government in an effort to deny them access to reproductive health and contraception will really shake them awake and aware. It is interesting that the Pope wants Catholics to stop being obecessed about abortion and contraception and to get back to traditional religious beliefs like income inequality. The future does not bode well for republicans. this shutdown is looking more like Custer’s last stand