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. Brian

    The House republicans prove once again that they are more interested in subverting the intent of law and holding the whole country hostage to their force their restrictive beliefs beliefs on the many. Pathetic, maniacal and reckless. This group of wildly conservative men and women (not all republicans are radical) will see their end come soon.

    September 29, 2013 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  2. Starrface

    What the hell is wrong with these GOP conservative, right wing goof balls?

    September 29, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  3. Ken Wesche

    Unbelievable! I'm a lifelong Republican in my 70s who just became a FORMER lifelong Republican. The GOP has been totally hijacked by idiots and bible thumpers (statistically the same thing)and I just can't take it any more. I've been looking at third party alternatives for some time now, and it's time to make the jump.

    September 29, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  4. aginghippy

    Will the employers listen to their conscience and pay to raise the unwanted children who result from the employee's inability to obtain contraceptives?

    September 29, 2013 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  5. Jacquie

    Where is the "conscience clause" for health that the Christian Taliban find objectionable for men? Yeah..right we know the answer.

    September 29, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  6. Jason

    A law for insurers and corporations to opt out of any preventative coverage for women. No such clause for men. I would expect this of fundamentalist Muslims, not fundamentalist Republicans. The common thread appears to be 'fundamentalism'. Once you are willing to abridge the rights of a group of people, or restrict the actions of a group of people, for religious reason not shared universally by that group, where do you draw the line? Allowing corporations to pay one group less than another group for the same work? Oh, wait a minute ...

    September 29, 2013 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  7. chuck stewart

    Iseriously believe house republicans
    stop tying the ACA to the btdget and get this done to avoid a govt shutdown. i have registered republican since 1976 out
    out of respect for my father. ill change that this year to independent. my father,
    rest his soul, would understand!

    September 29, 2013 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  8. Prof

    This is absurd! I can't believe that in the year 2013 women are still having to fight for access to contraception! If I think contraceptives are immoral I don't have to take them. But I refuse to allow a Congressman or my secular employer tell me what I can or can't do when it comes to procreation! I was an active member of the young republicans in college. The rep party of today bears no resemblance to the rep party of the late '80's or early '90's. While I don't agree with the dems at least they want to protect my freedom and are trying to act rationally on fiscal matters. Yes, they historically have been the party to expand the fed. Gov't but at least they don't play chicken with the economic stability of the country and potentially the world. The dems are definitely the lesser of the two evils today.

    September 29, 2013 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  9. Thinker

    Remember, there is no war on women. The republicans think that they can make health care decisions for women.

    September 29, 2013 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  10. Fran Devine

    CNN–get a dictionary, or at least an AP stylebook! There is no such word as "preventative"! The word for which I believe you were seaching is preventive! And also, please look up the difference between "damage" and "damages".

    September 29, 2013 08:01 am at 8:01 am |
  11. djcollett

    The GOP is determined to put America back into the dark ages where women have no rights. We might as well start wearing burkas now. For crying out loud!!

    September 29, 2013 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  12. amlcpamaine

    These people remind me more every day of the one or two rich brats who were in elementary school with us. The nuns put up with them because their parents donated lots of money, but their whole life was insisting that they get their own way, even when it made everyone else miserable.

    Honest, dedicated public servants who spent years in Congress are turning over in their graves, disgusted that these clowns have brought down our economy just to shill for a handful of billionaires – and are too stupid to realize it.

    September 29, 2013 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  13. Steve - Texas

    Another GOP attack on women and couples wanting to control THEMSELVES when to have children.. Just an amazing disconnect with America.

    September 29, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  14. john defelice

    Really? After killing food stamp and assistance for millions of children,poor, disabled and elderly Americans they can say the world "conscience" and not burst into flames? Hubris and hypocrisy seem to to be the order of the day here!

    September 29, 2013 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  15. T. Storm

    How about those of us that want to opt out of Obamacare all together because we don't agree with it. I should not have to buy something I do not want or need. I don't use it & I won't use it. I wil not become a slave to socialism, this administration & its dictator.

    September 29, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  16. tadpole

    Following this logic, should I be able to legally not pay taxes if I am not morally in agreement with how my tax dollar is being spent (example: military expenditures). I understand that people might object (even strongly) to Obamacare, as it is new, and it has not been proven as being effective. However, it was passed legally, so why can't we just give it a chance, and then decide if it should be repealed?

    September 29, 2013 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  17. L Davis

    Amazing. And should said women have more babies because of this clause, who do you think will be offering insurance for health care on them if they are still employees of the company that is refusing to pay for the birth control. Should there not also be a clause denying payment for viagra, which boosts male desire for the activity that can make the aforementioned females pregnant, something they may not wish to be. Should we not be making is easy for women to prevent pregnancies, since we cannot prevent the activities that cause them? It seems like women and there activities are always being controlled, but the control issue should be focused on men as well. Quit making this a one-sided moral censure.

    September 29, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  18. peter

    what if I have moral objections to all of Obamacare? I guess that would be okay to the idiot Republicans who represent the poorest states in the US and take more money from the government than any others.

    September 29, 2013 08:43 am at 8:43 am |
  19. Joey Isotta-Fraschini ©™

    This "conscience" clause is a total "con."
    Republicans want to trump a Supreme Court decision with a Church teaching. Remember Separation of Church and State?

    September 29, 2013 08:44 am at 8:44 am |
  20. Doug

    If you don't like serving your customers, quit your job. You don't deserve special treatment. All you deserve is a minor amount of dignity, and when you attempt to steal that from others, you no longer deserve it yourself.

    September 29, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  21. Maria Rivera-Carvalho

    Nothing new from the Republican camp: war on women's rights, war on Obama and war on anything that's good for the people and the country because their beloved corporate donors might get offended. Memo to repubs: information is readily available to anyone with a computer. Your lies will be found out and the ACA will be the law of the land just like social security, medicare and similar services that you badmouth in public and use in secret. A civilized society works for its people, not just Wall Street.

    September 29, 2013 08:50 am at 8:50 am |
  22. JD

    Republicans have become terrorists. They are a threat to this Nation. The sooner they are removed from the levers of power, the sooner our government can start to function again.

    September 29, 2013 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  23. Carol G Stock

    Corporations are not people and therefore do not have a conscience-I believe we voted on that in the last election.

    September 29, 2013 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  24. O'drama Ya Mama

    So if the Republicans cant stop everyone from having healthcare at least they can stop women...stay classy repubs

    September 29, 2013 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  25. mark

    Basically this is a big is like saying FU Pope Francis

    September 29, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11