GOP adds 'conscience clause' to spending bill
September 28th, 2013
07:13 PM ET
12 months ago

GOP adds 'conscience clause' to spending bill

Washington (CNN) - House Republicans have added a measure aimed at limiting contraceptive coverage to the spending bill coming up for a vote Saturday night, a spokesman for Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas, told CNN.

A senior House leadership aide confirmed that development.

The so-called “conscience clause” would allow employers and insurers to opt out of preventative care for women which they find objectionable on moral or religious grounds. That prominently includes birth control, which most insurers are required to provide for free under current Obamacare rules.


With this move, House Republican leaders would give any employer or group health plan the ability to opt out of contraception coverage for the next year. That time frame syncs up with the larger measure in which this is included: a one-year delay of Obamacare provisions not yet in effect.

“This is a big deal for the congressman,” Huelskamp’s spokesman, Paul Nelson, told CNN. “He has been pushing for (the conscience clause) since he entered Congress.”

Democrats say the measure is unnecessary because the administration has granted exemptions to contraceptive coverage to religious nonprofit institutions. But advocates, such as Huelskamp, insist that all institutions should be able to opt out of any preventative coverage for women that they find objectionable.

The addition of the “conscience clause” ties a heated social issue to the already sharp shutdown debate.

soundoff (269 Responses)
  1. Nameask davey

    The gop is falling apart with every minut that goe's by. At this rate by 2016 they should all be replaced.1 million a day to run congress.....just think what good that money for the last 42 repeal votes the gop has held. This is just a waste of the tax payers money. They would have a little cred. If they just past obamas jobs bill then work on their demented stuck in te house votes.

    September 29, 2013 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  2. Erica

    Birthcontrol is not just used as a contraceptive. For women with hormonal conditions such as Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome it is a treatment. By taking birth control which can help alleviate painful ovarian cysts that can cause life threatening complications, it helps stop the growth of unwanted facial and body hair which is humiliating, it helps regulate periods and makes their symptoms milder. Do you really think if they aren't forced to insurance companies will make exceptions for contraceptives a treatment? I can tell you that before they didn't. Even with a letter from the doctor saying that the pills were for a medical condition they wouldn't even cover part of the cost.

    September 29, 2013 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  3. GinD

    The law was passed, get over it, improve the law and move forward. We are ranked 40th in the world when we measure the health if our society. Heck, Cuba is ahead of us.

    That is a disgrace for the richest nation in the world.

    September 29, 2013 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  4. Ybsnad

    Tim Burnett, open your eyes. Its not me vs you, or red vs blue. The solution us not so simple. We need money out of govt.

    September 29, 2013 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  5. socathy7

    No abortions and now no birth control but we can pay for Viagra for men? Methinks not. If the GOP wants to force women into the kitchen and keep them pregnant they should just say it in plain English instead of passing all of these misogynist laws.

    September 29, 2013 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  6. alex

    This is not the way to run the country . If the repubs don't like the health care LAW that's been upheld be the supreme court, then they need to legislate it out of existence, not hold the entire country hostage because they can't succeed at the legislating part.

    September 29, 2013 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  7. alex

    I fully support the Senate sending the bill back to the house with an amendment denying prescription coverage for viagara in response to this garbage coming from the repubs. After all, you can't have an unwanted pregnancy without unwanted sperm!

    September 29, 2013 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  8. Michael Benjamin

    This amendment should go a long way towards healing the rift between the two chambers.

    September 29, 2013 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  9. hmmm

    Birth control is a lot cheaper than WIC, Welfare, maternity care, newborn care. labor and delivery, and education. Provide birth control today. Save billions later.

    September 30, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  10. Shelia

    Thank you GOP for standing up for us woman and keeping government out of my doctors office...

    September 30, 2013 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  11. SgtPepper2221

    The real issue here is not Obamacare. It is who is the leader of the United States. If Obama gives in to this blackmail, then the republican house will pass resolutions that will fund the government for only about a month and every month when they pass that resolution they will load it up with a republican wish list of things they want done their way and if they don't get their way they will shut down the government. This will be a constant thing if Obama gives in now. It is why the US has a long standing policy of not negotiating with terrorists. Once you do, they just keeping coming back to the well with no end in sight.

    September 30, 2013 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  12. Steve

    The Republicans are holding this country hostage by trying to pass a law with a minority vote and repeal Obamacare. It won't even make it to Obama's desk. The Republicans already know it won't pass. So the government will shut down. Throw a wrench in the economy and the backing of the US dollar in other countries will decline. They make this rich nation look like fools. Did you know that the top 20% of rich people bring in 89% of this nations wealth every year? The rest of us live on the other 11% of America's assets. You can't fathom how rich the rich really are. This is a very rich country. But it's all going to the top. This shutdown will hurt those with assets, the military, and those with money more. The country collapsed in 1929. Guess which party represented the nation in the 20s for 10 years. Republicans. Guess which party represented us in 2000-2008 when it collapsed and 8 million jobs were lost. When money goes the top the money doesn't flow. It gets horded. Then the rich invest in other countries against America. When average America's have money to spend the money flows around and creates more wealth for everyone.

    September 30, 2013 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  13. Mark

    It doesn't really matter what they add to the bill since it will not pass the President's desk or the Senate. They can rename Washington DC: Cruzville or Boehnerburg. Obama isn't budging. He can't negotiate with these terrorists who represent a minority of the population. I say call in the Army...

    September 30, 2013 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  14. ecru

    I don't understand why contraception for women is objectionable, but vasectomies for men are A-okay!

    September 30, 2013 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  15. Steph

    Really? A conscience clause? These are the same SOBS who will let small children go hungry to appease their big business masters yet say we need this kind of legislation? Yet another reason to vote out the party of NO!

    September 30, 2013 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  16. in the state of Texas

    The Republicans say take the Federal Government out of our lives yet they want to control our lives which they are part of government. They are pushing for charter schools here in Texas and yet we have to pay local public school taxes even if we decide to send our kids to charter schools. I would call that double taxation on education. Doesn't make sense to me.

    September 30, 2013 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  17. artlessmisogyny

    The GOP really can't stand women.

    September 30, 2013 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  18. Kathy R

    Cool! Now employers get to pick what their health plans will cover? Does this mean they can refuse to pay for Viagra?

    September 30, 2013 04:59 am at 4:59 am |
  19. Driverdale

    I wonder how many of the employers who don't want to pay for insurance coverage for contraceptives, provides salaries high enough for their employees to pay for it out of packet or for the families to properly provide for the children born as a result. These employers are probably the same people who want to shut down Planned Parenthood.

    September 30, 2013 05:41 am at 5:41 am |
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