A platform for voices supporting women's rights
The US House shut down last week after an agreement failed to be reached over the US budget and, crucially, The Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”. Despite the delay placed upon the legislation until 2015, leaving those in desperate need of health care vulnerable to expensive medical bills, the situation seems to be all the more grim for US women.
A small group of far-right members of the House pushed through a provision, passing an amendment that means insurance providers and employers can opt not to insure women’s preventative care, if they have a “moral objection” to it. This means that women could be refused health cover for treatment such as birth control, HPV testing, breast-feeding services and counseling for domestic violence if this goes against the “moral” beliefs of the organisation in question.
This is clearly something that is open to exploitation by employers and insurers alike, women could simply be refused cover with out any opportunity for appeal. However, these same “moral” justifications that can refuse such a wide range of treatment to women, do not apply to men’s preventative healthcare and as such, men’s healthcare cover is unaffected.
Unsurprisingly this new assault on women’s healthcare comes from the same group of republicans that tried to shut down the government in 2011 over Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screening, as well as a number of other laws that would put the decision over women’s health care in the hands of women. Despite studies showing that for every dollar spent on birth control, the state saves six dollars, it appears that even rational economics is not enough to justify some republican compliance in women’s health rights.
Unfortunately, some of the far-right members of the US House have used this time of political stalemate to launch an attack on women’s healthcare, rather than focus on the economy, jobs and kick-starting the country’s government.