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House Singles Out Women’s Health As a Bargaining Chip in the Debate Over the Government Shutdown

While the rest of us were watching the season premiere of Saturday Night Live this weekend, the House passed a bill that holds women’s health hostage as a bargaining chip in the debate over shutting down the government.

It is such a typical move by the far-right politicians in the House that it almost plays out like a skit on SNL. They have become caricatures of themselves.

Specifically, late Saturday night, the House passed a continuing resolution that would exempt bosses from complying with the ACA’s Women’s Health Amendment if they oppose it for “religious or moral” reasons. This means that bosses could impose their religious beliefs on their employees, or even block their employees’ access to needed women’s health care for vague and undefined “moral” reasons. Female employees and dependents – just like men – are capable of making their own health decisions and must be allowed to do so without interference from their bosses.

Since August 1, 2012, all new health plans must cover a range of women’s preventive services without cost sharing, such as co-pays or deductibles. They are:

  1. Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling;
  2. Screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence;
  3. Screening for gestational diabetes;
  4. DNA testing for high-risk strains of HPV;
  5. Counseling regarding sexually transmitted infections, including HIV;
  6. Screening for HIV;
  7. Contraceptive methods and counseling; and,
  8. Well woman visits.

So, women who currently have this coverage could lose it.

It is offensive and unacceptable that the House would play politics with women’s health. It is imperative that the Senate stand up for women and reject this amendment.

Because it really isn’t funny that women can’t get the preventive health services they need because they cannot afford them. And, there’s nothing funny at all about people still believing that women should not be able to make their own health care decisions.

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