Bringing the dysfunctional politics of Washington to Concord, the Tea Party/GOP leadership in the New Hampshire House is set to hear testimony about a resolution sponsored by Bill O'Brien, D.J. Bettencourt, Jordan Ulery, and Al Baldasaro to demand that the federal government strip women of the ability to have full health care if their employers disagree with providing it. This legislation, which echoes language inserted by right-wing southerners in Congress, would strip women who work for some of the nation's largest health care systems of their access to family planning and women's health care options.
The House Committee on State-Federal Relations and Veterans Affairs will hold an executive session a day after the public hearing of HR 29, a bill to rescind rules requiring health plans to provide sterilizations and contraceptives. This is only the latest of a string of full out attacks on a woman's reproductive health care, her decision about when to start a family, and her control over her own body.
Extremists led by the House Majority leader want you to believe that HR 29 is all about religious freedom. That’s a smoke screen and they know it.
The bill actually exempts any employer from having to offer health plans that cover a wide range of reproductive health care services. It does not specify that this relates only to religious groups. So if your boss doesn’t believe in vasectomies, he can insist you are denied coverage for the procedure? If he doesn’t believe in birth control pills because, as Rep. Notter on the Committee believes, they cause prostate cancer, he can prevent your plan from covering this?
HR 29 is really about using government to enforce the principles of religious and other organizations. For example:
- Should the state refuse to grant a divorce to members of churches that preach against the practice?
- Should we deny drivers licenses to those whose faith prohibits the practice?
- Should the state suspend labor laws if they conflict with an organization’s philosophy?
HR 29 is nothing more than a partisan circus staged to cover up the fact that Free State/Tea Partiers in our Statehouse have failed miserably to focus like lasers on jobs, and instead jump into social issues without even receiving an invitation. I say shame on them and shame on us if we buy into this sad political rhetoric.
This is not about morality and it's not about contraception. But it is most assuredly about women and it's about families. It should not be government's job to enforce any organization’s principles.