Senate Narrowly Defeats Anti-Contraception Bill as Reproductive Rights Come Under Sustained Attack
The U.S. Senate has narrowly rejected an effort to vastly expand conscience exemptions in President Obama’s new birth control coverage rule that already allows exemptions for religiously affiliated institutions. The Blunt Amendment, sponsored by Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri, would have let any U.S. employer deny contraceptive health coverage on religious or moral grounds, but it failed in a 51-48 vote largely along partisan lines. "What’s really surprising to me about the Blunt Amendment is that it did not fail 99 to one," says Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. "It’s appalling that politicians really think they can get away with restricting birth control." In other reproductive rights news, a Virginia bill mandating ultrasound exams for women seeking abortions has cleared its final legislative hurdle and is expected to be signed into law. "I can’t think of any other area, in the 20 years that I’ve been practicing medicine, where I’ve been forced by the government, someone who has no medical training or background, to use a particular test or to inform a patient about information," notes Dr. Willie Parker, an abortion provider and board member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.
Dr. Willie Parker, physician, abortion provider and board member of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health.
Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women.
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