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Rival Lobbying Campaigns Square Off Over Contraceptive Coverage Debate

Rival Lobbying Campaigns Square Off Over Contraceptive Coverage Debate

March 13, 2013 — Groups involved in both sides of the abortion-rights debate recently unveiled advertisements and lobbying drives focusing on the federal contraceptive coverage rules, Roll Call reports.

The messaging battle comes amid a public comment period for the Obama administration's proposed rule to finalize how not-for-profit employers with religious objections can comply with the contraceptive coverage rules. Meanwhile, lawsuits over the issue -- including about two dozen by for-profit companies -- continue to make their way through the courts.

Campaigns by Abortion-Rights Groups

Planned Parenthood Federation of America has launched a campaign called Birth Control: We All Benefit, which features television ads criticizing Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for supporting lawsuits by private businesses that oppose providing contraceptive coverage to their employees.

Planned Parenthood Action Fund also has launched social media efforts lampooning the businesses' owners as "Bosses of Birth Control."

Dawn Laguens -- executive vice president and chief experience officer for Planned Parenthood -- in an email said, "We know that when women have access to birth control, they benefit, their families benefit and we all benefit," adding, "That is what we will continue to remind these politicians and bosses who insist that they should be the ones who decide if and when women can access birth control."

Separately, NARAL Pro-Choice America spent $250,000 on radio ads last year to support the contraceptive coverage rules.

SBA List Forms Coalition

Last month, the Susan B. Anthony List launched a campaign called Call2Conscience that urges legislative action as a means of reversing the contraceptive coverage rules. The campaign is backed by a coalition of more than 50 groups that oppose the rules.

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of SBA List, said, "If it's in statute, it's going to be way tougher for the courts to go after it ... so Congress is the linchpin" (Newlin Carney, Roll Call, 3/12).