My day started with an email from the President’s reelection campaign which informed me that “Senate Republicans are pushing the Blunt Amendment, a radical piece of legislation that would cannibalize health care reform by letting any employer deny any part of your heath care coverage due to “moral convictions.” (Emphasis in the original.) The campaign further stated that the Blunt Amendment “goes way beyond taking away birth control coverage. An employer could decide that they couldn’t shell out the money necessary for your expensive cancer treatment because of their “moral convictions,” and you’d be out of luck. Their goal isn’t just to end contraception coverage. Their goal is to implode our entire health care system and strike a deadly blow to President Obama’s historic health care reform.” (Emphasis in the original.)
I hadn’t heard about the Blunt Amendment, but after I read that, I thought, “Wow! There must really be some serious stuff going on here! I wonder what this is all about! And an employer will cut off my cancer treatment for moral reasons!” So, I found out that in the new highway transportation bill (another boondoggle discussed on the editorial pages of the February 15, 2012, Wall Street Journal, but I digress). The new highway transportation bill is scheduled to be voted on in the Senate in the coming days. But an amendment was added that is called the “Blunt Conscience Protection Amendment.” This Amendment was introduced by Senator Roy Blunt (R, Missouri), and it protects the religious conscience rights by allowing any employer to opt out of President Obama’s contraceptive coverage mandate (oh, I was so relieved to know that it doesn’t affect my cancer treatments).
The Amendment seeks to restore the balance that was upset by the President’s recent imposition of “free” contraceptive care mandate by HHS. There is also a parallel piece of legislation being offered in the House of Representatives by Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R, Nebraska). So, as President’s contraception mandate controversy continues to anger many Americans, who view this as a brazen and not-too-subtle attempt to impose an absolutist stance against all pro-life Americans, whether Catholic, Evangelical, Moslem, Jewish, atheist, or otherwise. After all, if the President can impose laws and regulations that force Americans to go against their consciences and deeply-held beliefs, and then on top of that, force us to pay for it, then what does the notion of a nation built on great personal freedom and limited government really mean. Not much, I fear.
So, after learning about the Blunt Amendment and since I was urged to contact my senator in the email from the President’s reelection campaign, I called my Senators today and let them know that they should vote for the Blunt Conscience Protection Amendment. I also asked the senatorial staff to contact me afterwards about how the senators voted. Accountability is always good, don’t you think?
If you feel as I do, you might want to call your Senators as well. The US Capitol switchboard main numbers are: 202.224.3121, 202.225.3121, and since you pay for it anyway, the Capitol switchboard toll-free numbers are the following: 1-866-220-0044, 1-877-851-6437, 1-800-833-6354, 1-888-355-3588 1-866-808-0065, 1-877-762-8762 and 1-800-862-5530. You can also find the direct dial numbers to your senators on the internet. And let me know what the senators say.