My, isn’t ladybusiness suddenly so very hip to discuss at cocktail parties and presidential interviews and press conferences and Congressional hearings! We had no idea such a wide cross-section of men was so interested in woman-centric discourse. In fact, the status of such debates — over birth control insurance coverage, abortions, and everything in between — changes so often lately we can barely keep track. But we are going to start trying, right here, right now. Here, an update on where things stand; we’ll do our best to continue either updating this post or posting anew as the multiple political attacks on women’s health continue:
The Latest on Insurance Coverage for Birth Control: The U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops is working to make sure they — and any other employers with objections to birth control — don’t have to provide insurance coverage for contraception for their employees. Never mind that this money isn’t coming directly from the collection plate at Sunday mass to begin with; rather, it is paid for by insurance companies that cover the employees. For more info, visit NOW’s website.
UPDATE: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) has proposed an amendment that would allow insurance companies and employers to deny coverage for any service they deem against their own beliefs, including birth control, maternity care, HIV/AIDS treatment, mammograms, cancer screenings, and more. For information visit the Center for Reproductive Rights’ website.
UPDATE: The Blunt amendment was defeated, though Arizona is considering its own state law that would do the same thing.
UPDATE: The Obama administration has presented a plan to allow for insurance companies to cover birth control for employees of religious institutions without using premium money directly from those groups who morally object to it.
The Latest on Prenatal Testing: Republican flavor of the week Rick Santorum also would like to restrict amniocentesis coverage because, according to him, it “more often than not” leads to abortion. These prenatal tests determine whether pregnant women have infections such as toxoplasmosis, hepatitis B, syphilis, chlamydia, and HIV, among other problems whose effects can be curtailed with such advance warning. For more info, check out this petition at SignOn.org.
The Latest on the Campaign Trail: Santorum says he’s not obsessed with preventing women from using birth control; he’s just opposed to Obama’s insurance mandates overall. “The issue is not contraception,” Santorum said on MSNBC. “The issue is government-mandated health insurance. That to me is completely on message The federal government, first off, shouldn’t be mandating any kind of health insurance and specifically going after churches, saying they have to do things that are against their principles and faith.”
Meanwhile, on Meet the Press, Sen. John McCain urged fellow Republicans to “get off” the contraception issue, adding, “I think we ought to respect the right of women to make choices in their lives.”
The Latest on Sex Ed: Utah Governor Gary Herbert has vetoed a state bill that would have outlawed discussion of contraception in high school classes.