The U.S. Senate will vote on an amendment tomorrow aimed at rolling back a federal decision that would have made contraception more affordable for women with health insurance.
The legislative body will take up an amendment to a transportation bill that would enact the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act. The amendment is sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and has been championed by religious leaders (mostly Catholic) that have been opposed to the Obama’s administration decision requiring health insurance companies to cover contraception as preventative care. The measure, which is also being called the Blunt Amendment, has been described by women’s health advocates as a move to “strip away women’s access to health care.”
Critics of the amendment say the measure is far-reaching and would allow an insurance provider to exclude coverage of any health service it deems violates its religious or moral convictions.
Blunt pushed his amendment after a political opposition erupted to an Obama administration decision to require even religiously affiliated employers to offer health insurance that covers contraceptives free of charge. Blunt’s amendment is widely expected to fail.
“But the Republican leader and others on the Republican side of the aisle made it very clear the Senate is not going to be able to move forward…unless we vote on contraception and women’s health,” Reid said on the floor.
A Catholic PAC and Catholic Bishops have been clamoring for this amendment despite the unlikeliness that it will pass.
Contraception coverage has wide public support, even from many Catholics. Polls have found that 66 percent of Americans agree with the federal government’s decision to include birth control in its list of preventative services. Furthermore, according to research conducted by the Guttmacher Institute, about “98 percent of sexually active Catholic women have used contraceptive methods banned by the church.”