Women

09.30.13

The GOP's Women-Hating Obamacare Conscience Clause

On the eve of threatening to shut down the government, Republicans have slipped a clause into their "continuing resolution" bill that would threaten women's access to contraception and breast cancer check-ups.

Apparently, it wasn’t enough for Republicans to threaten shutting down the entire federal government and destabilizing our fragile economy just to try and get their way on Obamacare. Oh no, that bad behavior just wasn’t enough. On the eve of forcing thousands of government workers to go without pay and shuttering services from passport offices to public parks, Republicans decided to try and outdo themselves: They inserted a so-called “conscience clause” that would allow employers to deny health care services the employers find morally or religiously objectionable.

Never mind that, on this issue as on Obamacare, Republicans just can’t seem to face it when they’ve lost—and so keep rehashing and rehashing the long-ended battles of the past. This particular move is slimy and pathetic even for Republicans. Here they are, unwilling to accept that Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, President Obama signed it into law, the Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality and the American people then strongly re-elected President Obama to a second term.

A sensible political party would slink away, suck down some bitter bile and try and regroup and reinvent itself for the next election and the next legislative window. But not the GOP. Republicans are like the team that lost but keeps trying to score that elusive point long after the game is over and the audience has moved on. Obamacare is the law of the land. Give up the ghost, yo.

But no, not only are the fringe but influential forces within the Republican Party unwilling to admit defeat, they are hell-bent on digging up the past and dragging the entire country down with them. And, for added bonus—since the whole “War on Women” thing was such a winner for Republicans in the last election—they’ve decided to also threaten women’s access to contraception as well as annual check-ups for breast cancer, cervical cancer and diabetes. It’s as if not only do Republicans no longer care about the rules of our democratic process, they no longer care about winning votes. In 2012, the last time Republicans tried to curtail access to contraception, 77 percent of voters said birth control shouldn’t even be a topic for political debate. Republicans are literally pushing policies that hurt their party, hurt women, and hurt our entire economy purely out of childish spite.

They are literally pushing policies that hurt women, along with policies that will hurt our entire economy, out of childish spite.

Basically, the “conscience clause” that House Republicans slipped into their “continuing resolution” bill in the wee hours over the weekend would allow any employer for virtually any reason to deny preventative health care for women. Forget about the laws the majority of Congress passed protecting the health rights of women, let alone the advice of your doctor. What Republicans want is to allow a handful of employers to be able to subvert the law, just they Republicans themselves want to be able to subvert the law—or take 60 votes to defund it.

As President Obama has pointed out, you can be sure that if Democrats were threatening to shut down the entire government and destabilize our economy just because they couldn’t get some piece of their pet agenda passed through normal, democratic process, Republicans would be screaming from the rooftops about fascism and totalitarianism and undermining our nation’s values. But that’s why Republicans get along so well with Wall Street and big business: They all don’t think the rules should apply to themselves.

The “conscience clause” would dangerously restrict women’s access health care. Slipping the clause into an already manipulative and maniacal bill is just plain sick. It would appear Republicans are the ones who need a conscience. Maybe they can get conscience implants under Obamacare.