House G.O.P Caves on Birth Control War

Overriding women’s rights for ‘religious employers’ (men) who may violate their religious beliefs and moral convictions to provide female employees with free health insurance coverage for contraceptives. Birth control needs to get out of the hands of men and the government.

House G.O.P. Hesitates on Birth Control Fight

The New York Times
Published: March 16, 2012

Philip Scott Andrews/The New York Times Representative Fred Upton, (R) of Michigan, said on Feb. 8 he would move quickly on legislation to overturn the contraception rule.

WASHINGTON — House Republicans, unsure how to proceed, have slowed their efforts to overturn a federal rule requiring employers, including religious institutions, to provide female employees with free health insurance coverage for contraceptives.

While most House Republicans still support legislation to broaden the exemption for religious employers, House Republican leaders are carefully reviewing their options on the issue, which Democrats used to political advantage in the Senate.

The goal of House Republicans has not changed, they said, but they worry about further alienating women in this year’s elections.

In a speech on the House floor on Feb. 8, Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, vowed to block the Obama administration rule because, he said, it would force many religious employers to violate their religious beliefs and moral convictions.

“This attack by the federal government on religious freedom in our country must not stand and will not stand,” Mr. Boehner said then. The Energy and Commerce Committee is “taking the lead” in writing legislation to overturn the president’s policy, Mr. Boehner said then.

On the same day, Representative Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan and chairman of the committee, said, “I plan to move quickly” on legislation.

But five weeks later, no legislation is in sight. Aides to Mr. Upton said the decision about how to proceed was in the hands of the speaker.

“It’s been kicked up to the leadership,” a committee member said. “They want a cooling-off period.”

Aides to the House Republican whip, Representative Kevin McCarthy of California, said they detected no urgency in taking up legislation. A leadership aide said the speaker was taking “a deliberative approach.”

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.