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

    Why is it that none of these lawmakers ever introduce legislation aimed at limiting men's options as far as erectile dysfunction drugs is concerned? Doesn't it make sense that any business or employer who might object to women having access to preventative care that includes contraceptives might also have objections to their male employees having access to drugs such as Viagra?

    September 29, 2013 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  2. roro

    And so the Repuglican war on women continues. Viagra Yes Contraceptive No Where is the equality or justice here?

    September 29, 2013 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. Cal

    The war on women continues

    September 29, 2013 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  4. shzoosyq

    What is their obsession with contraception? Why do they want to turn women into "breeders"? There has 624 laws and amendments passed by states this year attacking a woman's right to her own body. Why? It can't be morals, since they've proven time and again with their disdain of the poor, sick and elderly/disabled thst they have none. Being an Independant voter and a woman, for one, will not vote for ANY republican come 2014.

    September 29, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. had enough in texas

    The Republicans have finally jumped the shark. They are unfit to hold any office in America at this point, including dog catcher. You would think that a party so vehemently opposed to abortion and people having kids out of wedlock would support easy access to birth control. And the most reliable like IUDs are also the most expensive. Free preventative care would save Americans alot of money in countless ways. But no. They don't want birth control, they don't want the morning after pill, they don't want abortion, they don't want food stamps, they don't want childcare credits, they don't want welfare... Do they just want to have poor moms and their kids starving in the streets so they can preach at them from the street corners about what rotten people they are? What about the love and grace of God they claim to speak for? If they could really hear God, I bet he'd tell them to shut the hell up and keep his name out of their mouths!

    September 29, 2013 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. anon

    @Dona, If congress wanted to add legislation limiting options for erectile dysfunction drugs based off one company's religious beliefs (ie, private, not publicly traded), I personally would not have a problem with it. I would not want to force my beliefs on that person who started that company. There are plenty of other companies that would be willing to take my money, that have more similar views. It is my belief that this would not remove options from the market, on the contrary, if John Doe's Pharmacy decides not to carry contraceptives due to a belief of conscious, it is likely that there will be a natural shift in the demand at that pharmacy because of that choice. Many people may look to other Pharmacies or stores for their entire shopping needs because of that pharmacy's choice, and that is just as ok. Heck, the pharmacy may go under because of that decision. I believe that the dollar speaks loud enough.

    September 29, 2013 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Paul

    You all miss the point. Republicans *must* fight a war on women, because those children that might be born could be male.

    September 29, 2013 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  8. JASC92

    whether or not contraception is moral or religiously objectionable or not should only concern the individual woman in question, not the government nor there employers.

    September 29, 2013 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  9. Johnny

    "Conscience Clause"??? Who was the last Republican you saw with a freaking conscience? Yeah, decades.

    September 29, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. war of the dozes

    Personally, I have a moral objection to providing replacement organs to the aged and to sped hundreds of thousands of dollars prolonging the life of a terminal cancer patient 6 months, but it's NOT MY DECISION and people should be allowed to have access to health insurance coverage that they wish. Not what there bigoted boss thinks is ok.

    September 29, 2013 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Thom

    What an idiot....no contraception, no medical care.....looks like someone else will be paying for a LOT of unwanted children to the tune of BILLION$ but we're all rich and can afford to pay for other peoples kids and hospital bills..........If that ain't shooting yourself in the foot, what is?? I say all the women with no insurance.......all of you have 10 kids and bankrupt the states and system.

    September 29, 2013 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. Name Uche Agonsi

    Conscience Clause?..... If there should be any healthcare provision on Conscience, it should involve Congress paying their medical bills, while allowing the incapacitated to be taken care of by government.

    September 29, 2013 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. rs

    The GOP is patently insane.

    Anyone who listens to them and actually believes them, or would elect them to office probably needs supervision.

    September 29, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. Michael Benjamin

    Poor Republicans just can't stop their fascination with attempting to control people's lives.

    September 29, 2013 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. guaraya

    The issue of contraception is not a matter of not allowing women to "have the right over their own bodies" (as many assert), but rather not forcing others to pay for how a women chooses, especially if they are forced to pay for what goes against their own conscience or morals.

    September 29, 2013 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  16. Ctrygrl

    Their definition of conscience is "impose our will on someone else". Like "war of the dozes" says we all have things we don't believe in, doesn't mean we get to impose our will on someone that works for us. For example there are some religions that don't believe in blood transfusions, will this conscience clause allow them to mandate no coverage for blood transfusions?

    September 29, 2013 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. uhhuh

    Conscience clause? What do the Republicans about conscience? They want to deny health care to those that need it. They want to deny food stamps to hungery people. They are willing to cause harm to this country to push their extreme agenda. They are extortionists, terrorists and traitors to this country

    September 29, 2013 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. Itsall Tuna

    I want a "consciousness clause" that lets me not be forced to fund corporate welfare and military misadventures.

    September 29, 2013 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. brian

    Preventive care for women is not "moral"? The Republican Party is stuck in the 14th century.

    September 29, 2013 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. NC2012

    WOW the GOP & Tea Party preach less Government? Well get out of our bedroom BIRTH CONTROL pills are prescribed for other reasons.. What about HIPPA? so they scream and place ads about Obama care being in your business and they can now tell us what Medications we can or can't purchase? now employers know what drugs their employees are being prescribed and can approve or disapprove coverage? NOT RIGHT !!! and as they right side always says the slippery slope to where? LOL what is next asthma medications? Bet all those GOP men are taking Viagra covered by their insurance company...

    Well let us stop any type of drug or medical treatment due to moral conscience LOL My moral conscience says D Cheney DID not need the new heart it was a waste of a good heart transplant, By the way what insurance company paid for that little procedure??? Can we the people take away Congress's benefits while they shut down the Government? no paycheck, no benefits? How can Congress shut down everyone else and reap the rewards by having a paid vacation?

    September 29, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  21. sense&sensibility

    man these conservatives sure love government to tell women what they can do or can't do. talk about hypocrisy. republicans keep your religious and moral views to yourself.

    September 29, 2013 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. waitnonasunnyday

    When it gets back to the Senate...

    Rand Paul, Please stand and read the entire Obamacare Law, with a monitor so citizens can follow along. Let everyone see how bad it is. Just like with the droning of Americans we are with you...

    September 29, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. avie

    I agree that people should have access to health insurance they wish, provided they can find the ability to pay for it. When someone else is paying for it, that is another story, and whether or not their boss (bigoted or not) makes a decision based on whatever reasons, is her/his decision. It is the golden rule, and who has the gold rules, and for better or worse, the government is taking the gold and ruling. This creates problems for people who object to their dollars being used for things they object to. In the 1970s this became clear with the democratic president waging an undeclared war in Viet Nam and people took to the streets and were jailed for their declaration of conscious. Dona, please be aware that ED drugs (viagra etc) are not covered by many insurance companies, even when they are therapeutic as in prostate cancer treatments. This is why we do need a conscientious objection clause by physicians and others. This fundamental right is enshrined in the first amendment. If the government can command a person to repudiate a belief, they can compel an individual to an objectionable action, and that will ultimately lead to terror for us all. It has happened before in other countries, and it could happen here.

    September 29, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  24. FGW

    Mama Bear's growl is getting louder, and louder. Don't be silent, speak up, and stop the GOP. Women, families deserve better, help end the War Against Women. Vote Hillary 2016.

    September 29, 2013 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. Howard Snell

    They seem to ask allot for a 3 month spending bill

    September 29, 2013 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
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