Senate Defeats Blunt Amendment Allowing Employers, Insurers To Opt Out Of Paying For Birth Control

Earlier today, the Senate narrowly defeated a proposal called the Blunt Amendment that would have allowed employers and health care insurers to opt out of paying for birth control (and other medical services) if it is contrary to their religious beliefs. The vote was 51 to 48, with Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine the sole Republican to support it.

Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) proposed this amendment in response to the Obama administration’s decision that if a religiously affiliated employer refuses to cover the cost the cost of birth control, the tab must be picked up by the insurer. Democrats countered that Obama’s compromise should suffice and that the Blunt amendment would give employers power to make medical decisions for their employees.

I’ve been dismayed by the tone of this whole discussion about how health care reform will cover birth control. I don’t understand the “pay for it yourself!” mentality at all, especially when it comes to cutting down on future costs down the road. Somehow, opponents seem to forget that the birth control discussion is about preventative health care — i.e. preventing unintended pregnancies and everything that means for the woman, the man who impregnated her, and society as a whole. Besides which, taxpayers — including employers — pay for lots of things they may personally be morally opposed to, like purchasing bombs and abstinence-only education in public schools.  


[New York Times]

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