In St. Louis this afternoon, hundreds of activists and concerned citizens joined together to let Sen. Roy Blunt know that they won't stand for his continued attack on women's health care. As FiredUp! has covered previously, Blunt's so-called "conscience" amendment is really just an attempt to take decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor and put them in the hands of her employer. From Missouri ProVote:
Missouri Leaders Call on Sen. Blunt to End Attack on Women’s Health
Missouri experts, leaders and constituents gathered at U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt’s office today to urge him to reconsider his opposition to the new HHS rule requiring employers or insurance companies to provide no cost birth-control coverage to all women wherever they work.
Sen. Blunt introduced an amendment last week that would take away from women the right to obtain contraception without co-pays, making access subject to the will of the employer or the insurance company. This amendment would also allow any business, corporation or insurance company to deny any essential health care service they object to, including those unrelated to birth control. When the congressional recess ends next week, the amendment is expected to come to a vote in the Senate.
Pamela Sumners, Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri sharply criticized Senator Blunt’s amendment, “Under the Blunt proposal, no one could count on basic health coverage. This proposal could render health insurance almost meaningless by giving corporations and health insurance companies’ carte blanche over what kind of health coverage Americans get.”
Blunt's proposal also ignores that birth control is often used in preventative medicine for women. At today's rally, Pamela Merritt spoke about her experience as one of the many women who needs birth control to treat a health condition, “Access to contraception allowed me to delay surgery for endometriosis and fibroids for a decade. My co-pay cost $420 a year. Many women can’t afford that. No woman should face major surgery because she was denied access to preventive medicine just because of who her boss is.” Unfortunately for Merritt and millions of other women, access to birth control would face yet another hurdle, even if her doctor had prescribed it if her boss or employer disagreed with providing coverage for certain medications or services.
Let's be clear, Blunt's amendment is an attack on women, their health care and an attempt to gut health care reform bill by allowing any employer or insurance company to arbitrarily refuse access to critical health care for any American.