by Max Brantley
The U.S. Senate today tabled Sen. Roy Blunt's sweeping amendment aimed at allowing employers to strip health insurance coverage of contraception.A huge coalition of health providers opposed the bill because of both the ill effects of stripping preventive care from women as well as the broad unintended consequences of letting employers dictate what was morally acceptable health insurance coverage.
The hypotheticals were many: No birth coverage for unmarried women, for example. No prenatal screening for women (could lead to abortion, you know). In vitro fertilization. And on and on.
Three Democrats — Ben Nelson, Joe Manchin and Bob Casey — joined Republicans in supporting the amendment, which was tabled 51-48. Sen. Mark Pryor had said yesterday he had concerns about the breadth of the amendment. Dr. No Boozman was a "yes" on allowing women to be deprived of birth control pill coverage.
Democrats immediately hammered Republicans with female opponents, such as Sen. Scott Brown:
“Republicans made a very calculated decision to change the focus away from our economic recovery and focus instead on divisive social issues,” said Senator Patty Murray, chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. “It is despicable the way Republicans have used their power in Washington to wage a war against women’s health care. But what is even more frightening is when you look across the country at all the Republican Senate candidates that want to continue fighting these social issues and roll back women’s rights in this country. This is not what voters want. It’s time to end the culture wars and get to work for the middle class, creating good-paying jobs. That’s the Democratic vision that our candidates are talking about around the country.”
U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin, along with the other Arkie Republicans, sponsored an identical anti-woman amendment in the House.