Senate Democrats Misleadingly Claim GOP Is Pushing ‘Contraception Ban’

March 1, 2012 - 5:15 AM

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Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – Senate Democrats are accusing Republicans of trying to ban contraception, charging – inaccurately – that a bill from Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) would ban women from getting “any preventive health service” through their health insurance.

In a video entitled “The GOP Contraception Ban, Jeopardizing Women’s Health,” Senate Democrats accuse Blunt and his Republican colleagues of trying to “radically” change women’s health coverage.

“Republicans, led by Sen. Roy Blunt, are pushing legislation that could radically change the health services available to women across the country,” the video’s female narrator says.

“Under this legislation any corporation could deny any preventive health service to employees on the basis of religious or moral objections.”

In fact, Blunt’s legislation does no such thing.

In reality, the Blunt bill provides expanded conscience protections for religious organizations in light of the Obama administration’s refusal to exempt organizations like Catholic hospitals and charities from its mandate that all insurance companies provide contraceptive and sterilization services without copay.

The bill prevents the government from penalizing health plans for not providing coverage of a service in cases where – in the words of the measure – “providing coverage (or, in the case of a sponsor of a group health plan, paying for coverage) of such specific items or services is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the sponsor, issuer, or other entity offering the plan; or (ii) such coverage (in the case of individual coverage) is contrary to the religious beliefs or moral convictions of the purchaser or beneficiary of the coverage.”

In other words, if an employer – such as a Catholic charity – regards contraception as morally wrong, it would be protected from government penalties if it offers a health plan that does not include contraception.

Nowhere in Sen. Blunt’s legislation is contraception banned, as the Senate Democrats’ video suggests.

Also misleading is the charge that “any corporation could deny any preventive health service to employees on the basis of religious or moral objections.” The legislation does not say that.

Instead, it states plainly that its purpose is to ensure that employers can offer insurance coverage to their employees that conforms to the employer’s religious beliefs, without being penalized by the government under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the legislation also known as ObamaCare.

“The purposes of this Act are – (1) to ensure that health care stakeholders retain the right to provide, purchase, or enroll in health coverage that is consistent with their religious beliefs and moral convictions, without fear of being penalized or discriminated against under PPACA; and (2) to ensure that no requirement in PPACA creates new pressures to exclude those exercising such conscientious objection from health plans or other programs under PPACA,” it states.

Nowhere in the bill does it say that corporations are allowed to deny anyone any type of health care service, as the Democrats’ video claims.