GOP adds 'conscience clause' to spending bill
September 28th, 2013
07:13 PM ET
7 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. Anya

    The House GOP are just grandstanding now. What a circus.

    The President has made it clear that he's not going to consider any of these insane demands from the GOP. He's not going to sign the 2012 Republican Party Platform into law just because Boehner and the rest of his clowns are throwing a tantrum. The Senate won't consider anything that attacks the ACA or which has all these unneccessary and irrelevant riders attached. The Republicans in the House are just wasting everyone's time with their delusional antics.

    When the governent shuts down, it's all on the GOP. And if the House's economic jihad continues and we go into default, that should mark the end of the Republican Party as any sort of viable national party. These people are deranged.

    September 28, 2013 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  2. len

    Women keep voting for these nut jobs! America stop watching reality shows and get involved and stop this craziness! Wake up!!!!

    September 28, 2013 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  3. Politico

    Soon everyone will be able to opt out. Muslims and Congress can opt out of Obamacare, now contraception coverage. I find it morally objectionable to pay extra taxes for healthcare I don't want, I better be able to opt out too.

    September 28, 2013 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  4. alex

    Holy cow- they actually want our employers to force their religious beliefs on us. This tea party rabbit hole just keeps getting deeper and deeper. I'm actually starting to feel sorry for Boehner.

    September 28, 2013 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  5. Danbern

    Ah ! so I asked myself, " I wonder if the representative thinks Jesus rode with dinosaurs." My brain hurts when listening to a reactionary.

    September 28, 2013 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  6. Steve Fielder

    As if Congressional Republicans' foolishness concerning the ACA and a possible government shutdown hadn't reached a ridiculous level already, now they insist on including a provision that would allow employers and insurance company officials the ability to impose their religious or "moral" (misogynistic) beliefs on women who hold healthcare insurance policies.

    Finding themselves in a very deep hole already, Congressional Republicans are insisting on digging to China....

    September 28, 2013 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  7. Dan5404

    What a joke! A conscience clause from a group of cold-hearted extremist right wingers that care for nothing except Billionaire donations for re-election and attacking women, education, research, the elderly, the sick and poor and all minorities.

    September 28, 2013 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  8. bonkin

    Because restricting women's reproductive rights is so much more important than the economy or the wars or the planet imploding. I for one am glad I don't have to go all the way to Afghanistan to experience the TALIBAN!

    September 28, 2013 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  9. Brian

    Gee, another genius move from the Republican right. On a bill where we're already pursuing an unpopular course and risking a shutdown, let's throw another controversial issue where the majority of the country opposes us.

    September 28, 2013 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  10. debra

    Don't you just love how all of these old white men like to control the options needed by us women yet somehow they are ok with supporting medications for their erectional needs?

    September 28, 2013 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  11. Winston Smith

    Conscience? This is a joke? The only thing that keeps any republican going, is an adding machine. They have no conscience. They couldn't have a conscience. If they did, they'd have a harder time lying to the people about their motives. The only motivational trigger for the republican party is the payoff. How much they can line their pockets with from their corporate contributors, and bilk from those living in tin cans, that believe they care about their interest. The nations on it's ear, and it seems it all began with the republicans taking power in any of the branches of office. Up til that time it seemed to go along pretty smoothly.

    September 28, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  12. Live Free

    Why should my health care be any of my employer's business? Should my employer be able to deny insurance coverage of a life-saving blood transfusion or childhood vaccinations if their religion objects?

    September 28, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  13. alaninthecastro

    It's not a "conscience clause," it's an "imposing your religion on your employees" clause.

    September 28, 2013 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  14. Hillcrester

    None of those changes will happen. The House GOP is so delusional it believes its own propaganda. BTW, are they ever going to pass this exercise in futility? They have been at it for more than nine hours. I wonder if they can round up the votes.

    September 28, 2013 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  15. Eat my young

    GOP also added a new clause that says the earth is flat and science should be banned because its actually black magic.

    September 28, 2013 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  16. Maximum bob

    How stupid is this? You want to legislate morality? Isn't the province of Castro in Cuba?

    September 28, 2013 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  17. Cynthia Grothe

    When is the Republican Morons going to understand that women are people, not objects. we have feelings, brains and work just as hard as men, in some cases more so. Why are they insisting that we are not allowed to chose for ourselves on healthcare, and birth control? What do we need to do? Convince the democrats to add invasive proceedures for men to get them to back off? Birth control is not about trying to limit the children born all the time, but it is used in women who have issues with regulating menstruation, and helping women during painful issues associated with it. And when are we going to have a SEPARATION of church and government? Get back to work, stop acting like children and do the job you were elected for. Otherwise, come election time, you won't have a job!!

    September 28, 2013 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  18. scrappinnan

    Seriously? Seriously? Did I read that correctly? First they complain about too many poor having too many babies. They trim down SNAP. Want to cut Medicare and Social Security. Want to shut down the Govt. NOW they want to limit contraception MORE? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? So how is THAT all better than Obamacare? Too many of these GOP guys are drinking too much "Kool Aid!" I'd say THEY are the ones needing the limits!

    September 28, 2013 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  19. postedbygeorge

    Keep middle-eastern religious ideology out of USA politics.

    September 28, 2013 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  20. postedbygeorge

    Keep Mid-dle-east-ern reli-giou-s ideolo-gy out of USofA politics.

    September 28, 2013 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  21. John

    Aren't they just geniuses? Stifle contraceptives, and deal with more abortions or more unwanted unhappy people. How perversely twisted these people are.

    September 28, 2013 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  22. jennifer in Houston

    This is not about conscience but all about Republicans wanting power over women..

    September 28, 2013 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  23. Wake up People!

    The war on women continues. Back to contraception. What in the HELL does this have to do with defaulting on our nations debts.

    Anyone that supports these brain dead traitors is out of their mind.

    September 28, 2013 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  24. Sam Adams

    Wonder if any employer or insurer would opt out of providing male erectile dysfunction medication coverage.

    September 28, 2013 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  25. hlporterfield

    I find it absolutely deplorable that House Republicans want to limit contraception to WOMEN and then complain when people use government programs to support their children. Idiots!

    September 28, 2013 10:12 pm at 10:12 pm |
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