To Put it Bluntly: the Amendment Undermines Health Care For Women and Everyone Else

Sometime this week, Senator Blunt’s amendment to the transportation bill that addresses the contraception issue will be taken up by the Senate.

The Blunt Amendment allows employers and insurance companies to refuse to cover any health care service required under the new health care law if they object to it on the grounds of their “religious beliefs or moral convictions.” Under this amendment a business or insurance company could

  •  Refuse to cover HIV / AIDS screening or counseling on the ground that the disease is the product of immoral activity, whether gay sex or intravenous drug use.
  • Refuse to cover any illnesses that are the result of or have been exacerbated by smoking or drinking on the ground that these behaviors are contrary to their moral or religious beliefs.
  • Refuse to cover maternity care for unmarried women on the grounds that sex is permissible only for married couples.
  • Refuse to cover mental health care on the grounds that its religion teaches that psychiatric problems should be treated with prayer or other religious practices. 
  • Refuse to cover transfusions on the grounds that this medical procedure is prohibited by God.

There are, of course, people who, out of moral or religious conviction, hold all of these views.

The Blunt Amendment is so broadly written that if a businessman concludes that that the Affordable Care Act itself violates his conscience, he would be entitled to an exemption from all of its provisions.

As I’ve written before, the religious objections to the HHS requirement that insurance companies required to contraceptives as part of its package of free preventive care, is based on a false understanding of the First Amendment guarantee of the religious freedom.

The Blunt Amendment is also based on this false theory. But goes so far in offering exemptions to the Affordable Car Act that it’s true purpose is clear: not to protect our freedom but to kill health care reform and especially health care that serves women.

Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply