Unfortunately, women’s rights are still problematic. From equal pay to reproductive rights, women continue to experience attacks, discrimination and rollbacks – most often at the hands of members of the GOP.
The Health Care Conscience Rights Act is a sweeping provision which would permit any employer or insurance company to deny health insurance coverage for any health care service they have a religious or moral objection to, even if it’s required by law. Companies could deny coverage for a wide range of important preventive care, like mental health screenings, vaccines, or tests for cervical cancer, HIV, or Type 2 Diabetes.
This provision would strengthen an existing policy rider called the Weldon Amendment that already obstructs women’s access to abortion care, with language that could allow health care providers to deny patients basic services and information about their health and treatment options and opens the door to frivolous lawsuits.
In her amendment to remove the harmful language from the provision, Rep. Wasserman-Schultz (D-Fla.) said, “Freedom to your religious and moral beliefs does not and should never mean the freedom to impose your religious beliefs on other people — especially your employees.”
Sadly, the majority voted to include it in the final bill.
The second strike against women’s health comes from the same committee, and it voted to add language to another spending bill that would block a D.C. nondiscrimination law protecting employees from workplace discrimination based on their reproductive health care decisions.
For example, the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act (RHDNA) ensures a woman wouldn’t be fired for using in vitro fertilization to get pregnant.
Opponents of RHDNA failed to stop the law from taking effect, so they added a rider to another bill as a way to block RHDNA protections.
As the ACLU points out: “Proponents of the amendment claim that RHNDA interferes with religious liberty. In fact, RHNDA does just the opposite — it protects employees’ freedom of religion and belief by enabling them to make reproductive health care decisions according to their own beliefs rather than those of their employers.”
Both of these riders are poised for the House floor.
If you’re opposed to these riders, tell Congress how you feel by contacting them and saying: Don’t use religion to discriminate. It’s the wrong agenda.