Snap-O Fact #80
President Obama Protects Women’s Access to Birth Control!
In August 2011 Kathleen Sebelius, the secretary of health and human services announced a new rule in the Preventative Health Care package of the Affordable Care Act, that mandated that insurers must provide women with access to contraceptives with no co-pays. Exempted from the rule were employers such as churches whose primary purpose was to inculcate religious beliefs, and who employed individuals who shared those beliefs, from being forced to provide free contraceptives to their female employees. In November, however, Catholic Bishops, anti-women’s health groups and their allies in Congress pressed the Obama Administration to expand the limited religious exemption in the Affordable Care Act to include employees of Catholic hospitals, Catholic universities, and Catholic charities.
On January 20, 2012, President Obama rejected efforts by the Catholic Church, anti-women's health groups and their allies in Congress to cut off access to birth control for millions of women simply because they work at religiously affiliated hospitals or attend religiously affiliated universities, some of which receive public Federal funds, or who might work for religious charities. The January 20, 2012 rule specifies that a religious employer cannot qualify for the exemption if it employs or serves large numbers of people of different faiths, as many Catholic hospitals, universities and social service agencies do. The Obama administration announced that these women and their families will have access to the new benefit that requires health insurance plans to cover birth control with no co-pays. Most insurers will have to comply by Aug. 1, but the administration said it would give these nonprofit church-affiliated employers who based on religious beliefs do not currently currently provide contraceptive coverage in their insurance plan an additional year, until Aug. 1, 2013, to comply.
While President Obama has acted to preserve and increase women’s preventative heath care and and their reproductive rights, The President’s GOP opponents are pledging to take these away. Four GOP candidates signed a “Prolife Presidential Pledge” by Personhood USA stating that a fertilized egg is a “Person.” GOP candidates Rick Perry, Rick Santoum, Newt Gingrich, and Ron Paul (the latter appearing by satellite webcast from Washington DC) attended the Personhood USA's forum on January 18, 2012 to discuss birth control, abortion, and the “Personhood Amendments,” being placed on many state ballots even though the Mississippi “Personhood Ballot Amendment” failed by a 58% margin last November because it was so extreme. Mitt Romney didn’t sign the pledge, and didn't show up to the Personhood Forum, but his views on abortion and on “life being beginning at conception” were stated in a Saturday, October 1, 2011 Mike Huckabee FoxNews interview.