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. lila

    The rep from Kansas who wants this clause in has all adopted chidren. None that he actually made.....weird.

    September 29, 2013 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  2. Kathy

    Republicans- We'll fund the government if Obama says that Romney won!

    September 29, 2013 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. kentkeith

    I dont want to pay taxes for bombs or missels or health care for my congressmen or the people that work for them i dont to pay for granny abuse pills eather but like the bible says pay unto ceaser what is owed ceaser what thay do with it is there biz

    September 29, 2013 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Tim Barnett

    We can't blame just one aspect of government for this shutdown. The repubican said no shutdown, just take out obamacare. The democcrats said lets risk a shutdown and put obamacare back in. The republicans said."no shutdown just postpone obamacare to get the bugs out of it." Now its obama himself thats saying, "I'll shut down the government if its not my way or the highway with obamacare!" Our Congress is saying the same thing,"my way or the highway!" So, they aren't getting anything done. And obama is saying! "Its my way or the highway!" with making himself ruler with executive privilege bypassing Congress. I personally want them all out of Washington to be replaced with a group that will work with each other for Americans. Only the American voter can do that, but they will vote the same people in again. So, it comes down to being our fault, we are in this mess because we voted for obama an his crew again.

    September 29, 2013 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    I sincerely hope that people, especially women, are watching this nonsense very closely and will take the appropriate steps to vote these idiots out of office.. They WILL NOT LEARN and continue to use taxpayer monies with this ridiculous dance. If they would just spend half this time on JOBS (as they said when elected) we might be in a better place. GET OVER IT - YOU LOST!!!!!!!!

    September 29, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. Blocked ID

    Oh, that's funny the GOP using the word conscience, nonetheless while describing something that is the exact opposite.

    September 29, 2013 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. dot

    I hope that people, especially women, are paying close attention to this nonsense and will vote these idiots out in the next elections. They WILL NOT LEARN and they keep using taxpayer monies for this ridiculous dance. If they would just spend half this energy on JOBS as they said they would, we might be in a better place. GET OVER IT - YOU LOST!!!!

    September 29, 2013 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. golemmingsgo2013

    These are the same people that dont want girls to get the HPV Vaccines or think for there self god forbid oh thats right he gave us free will to think for our self

    September 29, 2013 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  9. Really?

    Come on guys...its not the government decision. If they don't want contraception then don't use it. Why are they trying to legislate a persons choice and what does this have to do with the paying the countries bills?

    September 29, 2013 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Dr. T

    And just how will we know that the company is opting out of birth control coverage because of religious or moral objections?? There would be nothing to prevent a company like Ford or United Airlines for claiming this as a way to cut costs, and all they have to do is say "We object on moral grounds."

    The choice for birth control or moral objection should be the individual's, NOT the employer!

    September 29, 2013 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  11. NameAlbrit

    I think, republicans don't have wife's and daughters in their families, the times are changed, congressman and senators do laws then beneficent families not health insurance Companies.

    September 29, 2013 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  12. texasgreenacres

    Quit while your ahead the further you go the dumber you look.The last round was a disaster stop before you cause a crash.A big crash would be dangerous for everybody.Politicians included.

    September 29, 2013 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. logic rules

    The GOP is a laugh a minute...ideology gone bad.

    September 29, 2013 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  14. 333maxwell

    I'm so sick of the GOTeas clownish antics. 2014 could not come soon enough.

    September 29, 2013 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  15. belinda

    The GOP has no conscience.

    September 29, 2013 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  16. Milo

    So employers aren't allowed to hire, fire or discriminate on the basis of religion. We understand this. We, as a people, have all agreed to stand behind this. Yet, in an act of stunning Doublespeak, they're allowed to make decisions FOR their employees on the basis of religion? Ladies and gents of the jury, I don't care where you stand on Life or Choice, certainly you must see that this is picking and choosing which 'moral highground' best suits your personal agenda. It is a slippery slope, it is manipulation at its finest and it won't stop with just this issue. Brace yourselves.

    September 29, 2013 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  17. rs

    So instead of compromising, the House GOP takes another dig at women??? These idiots deserve to lose. No jobs bills, and 836 laws regulating women's reproduction systems.....

    September 29, 2013 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  18. Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh

    As a family physician, I am sad that any employer would want to interfere with the ability of women and their families to get the medical care that they need. Medical decisions belong between the patient and the doctor, not between the patient and employer. Jesus never spoke against contraception. Why are women politicians being silent here and not speaking up for their rights as women?
    Sincerely, Dr Rosemary Eileen McHugh, M.D.,M,B,A,

    September 29, 2013 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  19. Sophie Meyer

    The conscience clause is a reeeaaalllly slippery slope. What if the employer decides gays/lesbians morally offend them...will they refuse to cover them? How about unwed mothers – if they're offended, will they refuse insurance to them? Cigarette smokers, people with brown hair, left-handed people...whose next? Nope, the conscience clause is bad policy and could lead to real detrimental results.

    The response to all house bills – other than the clean bill the senate passed – should be NO. There is no reason to negotiate – especially with extortionists willing to cause the nation great harm unnecessarily. Are they going to throw similar tantrums every time they don't like legitimately passed legislation? Enough. Win elections – then you can set the course. Until then, just get out of the way.

    September 29, 2013 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  20. Kathy

    I am a woman. I am an employer. Women Speak for themselves! It is more than contraception. It is not paying for abortions. I will never be a part of blood money for an abortion. Paying for the taking of a life. I will not be a part of that. I will shut down my business of 23 employees before I do that. This is a deeply held religious belief. Let me speak for myself–that is what the first amendment is there for. No political parties needed.

    September 29, 2013 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  21. Name beck led

    Bye bye women's vote!

    September 29, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  22. surprised

    @ war of dozes

    spending a million dollars to extend someone's life is not your business if they are paying for it.

    this is why socialized medicine is so suspect. it forces everyone to be part of everyones business because its being payed for by the borg collective.

    collectivizing individual concerns only makes sense if you are trying to centralize power. it makes no sense if you want personal control over your own life. this is why obamacare proponents are either blind or statists. its lose-lose for the individual. individuals are the smallest minority group there is. dems show they dont care about minorities, they want RAW POWER.

    September 29, 2013 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  23. August

    Looking at most of these comments.......my question is a middle of the road thing. I agree that women should have the right to decide whether or not they want/need birth control, but why should the employer have to pay for it if soemone wants it?

    September 29, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  24. GOP = Greed Over People

    Obviously, to the GOP "chri$tians", women are mere chattel, and women should remember they are little more than brood mares, that must give birth to an infant that a man fathers any man, regardless of how that seed is "planted"!

    September 29, 2013 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  25. nadiafulana@hotmail.com

    Willll exemptions also be included for Viagra?

    September 29, 2013 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
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