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. NameDon Hill

    House Repubs make me sick. I will never again vote for a Republican, for any office, local, state, or National. I think they finally finished digging their graves, tonight.

    September 28, 2013 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  2. victor yao

    This GOP congress is controlled by a small minority of anti Christ and Taliban christian politicians who have been spreading lies to the gullible Americans. Now they want to limit contraceptive coverage to soothe their conscience. Who are they trying to kid? Even satan has more credibility than these phony anti Christ christian republicans.

    September 28, 2013 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  3. VoteForPedro

    This is unbelievable. The GOP is the problem in DC, not a soln. Obama will just veto the bill, and they know that. I hope every one of the Republicans gets voted out, in their next elections. Bunch of jerks.

    September 28, 2013 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  4. David Hoffman

    Pandering to fundamentalist misogynist religious groups. If this behavior cannot get the women voters of this nation mobilized to register to vote and vote these backwards Representatives out of office, I have no idea what will.

    September 28, 2013 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  5. LMC

    Yet are the Republicans willing to pay for the upbringing and college education of any children born because of lack of access to contraceptive?

    September 28, 2013 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  6. lolololol

    seriously? yeah these guys arent trying to shutdown the govt at all. calling house leader...hello? anyone home?

    September 28, 2013 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  7. JJ

    So if I'm a Christian Scientist, I can become a doctor and then just send sick people home to pray! That would sure unburden the health system.

    September 28, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  8. LIBRYAN

    They should adopt the "war conscience clause". This clause would allow American taxpayers to opt out of paying taxes for wars which we find objectionable on moral or religious grounds and/or stupid politicians enact.

    September 28, 2013 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  9. Evergreen

    UNBELIEVABLE. These people get more and more bizarre each day. They will cover viagra but not contraceptives. STUPID.

    September 28, 2013 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  10. wallstreetcrime

    There they go again.

    Marginalizing women while claiming to be the party of opportunity.

    Complete losers.

    September 28, 2013 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  11. Merle McClung

    Sure, while you're taking away the possibility for millions to have access to healthcare, preventative care, no lifetime limits, no denial or expensive add-ons for pre-existing, got to get a stab in there against women. These Republicans aren't fit to rule on my rights; they are not fit for their positions at all as they push us into a government shut-down like crybabies.
    This is nothing but extortion and the GOP cares not one whit who it hurts in the process.

    September 28, 2013 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  12. JohnnyInSNJ

    Why does the GOP seek to control women? I just don't get that. Why is a political party so intent on controlling what one particular gender is doing?

    September 28, 2013 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  13. davecu

    How can the 535 mutts who supposedly represent us spend the money we don't have, in "good conscience"?

    September 28, 2013 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  14. 60minuteman

    The Republican War on Women continues unabated.

    September 28, 2013 10:50 pm at 10:50 pm |
  15. reply

    Can't we just kick all the republicans and democrats out of office, and take the DNA from the founding fathers and clone them?

    September 28, 2013 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  16. James Coffey

    What part of "continuing resolution" don't these people understand. It's a 3 month extension of the current budget since they couldn't come up with a real budget in time. These additions to a clean extension are cheap political plays. If you seriously want to pass this exemption, pass it as a separate bill and let the government stay open. One word of advice... before you do vote to repeat Obamacare for the 41st (or 42nd or 43rd) time, wait until you pass the budget!

    Frankly, I think that either the Republican Party gets it's act together, or admit that it's really 2 parties and have separate caucuses.

    September 28, 2013 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  17. Jeetu

    It has been over three years and time and again the Affordable Heathcare Act has been declared the law of the land in the USA. Yet, these republicans still want to keep the citizens hostage to their ill-conceived ideas and desire to help their rich friends at the cost of the ordinary person. It is time say: enough is enough and move on. Repulicans, if you don't like what the citizens want and vote for them, then it is time for you to resign from the Congress and go home. Don't stop the economic revocery to help your rich friends and also to deny healcare to those who need it the most. Ask yourself the question: would you give up your cadilac healthcare and don't earn salary when the government is dhutdown because of your stupid minority stand only because you want to be a maverick and do n't care for USA and its people? So what happened to "we the people" and the government for,the people, by the people and of the p;eople? It appears that once you are in DC, you no longer are for the people or even of the people.

    September 28, 2013 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  18. I'mvotingforHillary

    They are so ridiculous

    September 28, 2013 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  19. 99mystic99

    I hope this means he'll let providers opt out of providing Viagra, cialis, and other male "helpers." After all, what's good for the goose is even better for the gander!

    September 28, 2013 11:12 pm at 11:12 pm |
  20. 22

    But Viagra is covered under most insurance plans......that's a double standard.We need women making decisions for women!

    September 28, 2013 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  21. Hard Corps

    They really are knuckle draggers!

    September 28, 2013 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  22. dogsoldier

    Ugh, speaking as a libertarian, can we please just go to single payer (NHS style) already? We spend the most in the world on healthcare (both in gross and per capita), and we have very bad outcomes population-wide.

    FYI: a huge swath of America is already on socialized medicine. Medicare, Medicaid, Tri-Care, the VA, all employees of federal, state, and local governments ... they *all* are government programs paid for by tax dollars.

    So, since there's no way we will ever get rid of those enormous programs, can we at least go wholesale socialized medicine AND SAVE SOME STUPID MONEY WHILE WE'RE AT IT?

    The consolation prize for we free market types is that the NHS system allows a private healthcare system to operate in tandem. So, there we go.

    September 28, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain

    Wow, for a bunch who says they believe in freedom, they sure want to give corporations a lot of control over people's personal lives.

    September 28, 2013 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  24. Monty

    What century are the Republicans living in?

    September 28, 2013 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  25. deb

    why always an attack on women added to every darn bill?????????????????????????

    September 28, 2013 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
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