Frustrated by President Obama’s popular compromise that maintains religious freedom and protects women’s health with support from Catholic hospitals, universities and leaders, Republicans in Congress are working hard to further empower corporations at the expense of affordable access to birth control. Never ones to miss an opportunity to score cheap political points with far-right extremists, Republicans in the state House followed suit by yesterday adopting a resolution encouraging Congress to pass a bill that would allow any employer to deny contraceptive coverage to their employees.
This follows a yearlong theme of Lansing Republicans passing laws that are solutions in search of problems. Just this week, on Valentines Day they passed five separate bills out of committee designed to prevent the crime of coercing a woman to have an abortion, with testimony in support facilitated by anti-choice lobbyists with Right to Life. Meanwhile, in Washington this morning, Congressional Republicans are holding a hearing on birth control where they invited no women to testify.
We need leaders in Washington and Lansing who understand that religious liberty and affordable health care are core American values – not talking points to be pitted against each other. After digging a deeper hole for the state by giving away $1.8 billion in a corporate tax cut last year, Lansing Republicans celebrated Valentines Day by actually recommending that corporations should be able to deny any health service to anyone who works for them. If they were actually listening to those whose liberty this supposedly infringes, Republicans would know that Catholic hospitals and universities, as well as Catholic, evangelical and mainstream religious leaders support the President’s compromise. It is truly sad that lawmakers in Lansing are so focused on playing politics in an election year, they can’t even see the facts.