Who Should Make Women’s Health Decisions?

If you’re a woman, Mitt Romney apparently thinks your employer should be able to deny you coverage for birth control and other health decisions.

On Thursday morning, Republican Senators Roy Blunt of Missouri and Marco Rubio of Florida are putting a bill on the floor of the Senate to allow all employers—not just religious organizations—to deny insurance coverage for birth control and any other medical service they find “morally objectionable.”

For a brief moment this afternoon, it looked like Mitt Romney was showing some spine and opposing the proposal. But literally within only a few minutes, his campaign changed course, 180 degrees, and declared that he supports the bill that would let any woman’s boss decide whether or not her preventive care is covered.

If the bill passes, you can thank Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum’s support for helping to pave the way for this anti-contraception agenda.

This is an issue for everyone: We’re not about to sit back and let the other side tear down access to better care. Stand for a woman’s right to make her own health decisions.

Crafted in response to President Obama’s announcement that birth control will be available to women, without any co-pay or deductible, the Blunt-Rubio bill would let employers deny coverage for any medical services they object to. And the bill’s language doesn’t end at birth control. It would allow any employer to deny any health care service that any employer says they feel is “objectionable.”

Your employer could also deny coverage for a number of preventive services: mammograms, cancer screenings, and possibly even flu shots.

This is not about churches and houses of worship—they’re already exempt under the Obama administration’s guidelines. This is about any employer—a restaurant, a retail store, or a corporation—having the power to decide what’s best for you and choose not to cover the care you need.

If the Republican bill becomes law, the nearly 80 million women who receive coverage through their employers could lose access to these preventive services, which many just gained under the Affordable Care Act. And the decisions being made about their care would more likely be left to men: Businesses are 80 percent more likely to be owned by them.

That’s the agenda that Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are endorsing. And it doesn’t end with just this amendment.

Romney said he would have supported a “personhood” amendment for Massachusetts, which could have banned many common forms of birth control, including the pill, and fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization. And he’s supported legislation to force women seeking abortions to first view ultrasounds. Rick Santorum’s actually called contraception “harmful to women” and “harmful to society.”

Now the Senate is voting on whether employers should be able to object to certain kinds of medical care, willy nilly. Tell these Republicans that this is a dangerous overreach.

Tell them we all should be able to make our own health decisions.

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