March 6, 2013 — The Planned Parenthood Federation of America and more than three dozen women's rights groups sent a letter to the House and Senate Appropriations committees cautioning against attempts to undermine the federal contraceptive coverage rules through a continuing resolution to fund the federal government, CQ HealthBeat reports (Norman, CQ HealthBeat, 3/5).
"Including language in a continuing resolution or omnibus appropriations measure to restrict women's access to birth control would be bad policy and is contrary to our shared goals of improving women's health," the letter stated, adding, "We respectfully urge you to reject efforts to politicize the appropriations process for the remainder of fiscal year 2013 and oppose riders that are harmful to women's health" (Baker, "Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/5).
Reps. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), John Fleming (R-La.) and Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) want the CR to include their bill (HR 940) that would allow employers and other entities to refuse to comply with the contraceptive coverage rules or any other Affordable Care Act (PL 111-148) provisions for moral or religious reasons (CQ HealthBeat, 3/5).
In their own letter on Tuesday, Black and other GOP lawmakers wrote, "Nothing short of a full exemption [from the contraceptive coverage rules] for both nonprofit and for-profit entities will satisfy the demands of the Constitution and common sense" ("Healthwatch," The Hill, 3/5).
The bill's supporters would have a difficult time in the Senate because Appropriations Committee Chair Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) is a strong advocate for women's health and championed the ACA's women's preventive services provisions (CQ HealthBeat, 3/5).