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

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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. 333maxwell

    Certainly illustrates the GOP has no concern about the budget, they are on an extremist agenda PERIOD.

    September 28, 2013 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  2. JF Smith

    So they want this clause to apply just to women? Way to add fuel to the fire, gentlemen.

    September 28, 2013 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  3. Tampa Tim

    More republican backed government interference into people's lives. Why does the GOP hate women?

    September 28, 2013 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  4. Arattler

    I was reading this article in the Des Moines Register published on 08/02/2013 stating that, "Members of Congress and their aides apparently will continue to have their employer pay much of their health-insurance premiums, after a deal was reached to head off a possible exodus of top congressional staff members." Look people their employer and me. They said if this was not done they feared the aids would seek employment else. NEWS FLASH!!!!!! John Q. Public (that is you and me) pays a portion of our insurance premiums and some of us pay all the premiums. "Controversy bubbled up in recent days over possibility raised by Sen. Chuck Grassley, that members of Congress and their aides purchase health insurance on new government exchanges, electronic systems that are to open this October."
    I need somebody to explain this to me. The Congress gets FREE HEALTHCARE PAID FOR BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE and they want the government shut down because of a plan to insure 30 MILLION UNINSURED AMERICANS. And this is for the good of America? Somebody to explain this to me! They are LYING to the American public about the effects of the ACA. Somebody to explain this to me! It is by far cheaper to be seen in the physician's office than in the ER but that is the solution offered by the Tea Party and the Republicans'. Somebody to explain this to me! I am not the sharpest knife in the drawer but I need to understand how it is OK for me to provide Congress with free medical care and that is not socialized medicine. But for 30 MILLION UNINSURED AMERICANS it is socialized medicine at it's finest. People wake up, Congress is out of control. There are real issues facing this great nation, like Immigration Reform what about that? The Republicans/Tea Party are not work for the good of this country they are creating the great divide and it is time for Washington to be cleaned, purged, and repopulated. No same old business as usual send this bunch home they should be ashamed to be associated with with this mess. A group of pre-schoolers would do better than this.

    September 28, 2013 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  5. len

    WOW!!!! What can I say....We have a big problem in this country...we are being controlled by 26 percent of the population. Next time (2014) you better vote....not like 2010 when less than 38 percent of voters went to the polls. Wake up!!!!

    September 28, 2013 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    This is ridiculous that the Republicans are willing to shut down the government unless they get their way!

    September 28, 2013 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  7. david k

    Is it the preventative coverage or the women they find objectionable? The way this is written, it really sounds like the latter.

    September 28, 2013 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  8. len

    Wow....this what happens when you do not vote.(2010).....Off year elections are not voting you allowed the far, far right to be in office until (2014). The tail is wagging the dog! Better vote in 2014 or they will control the entire dog. And the middle class and poor will be controlled by the big business, oil companies, and you will not have a say in anything. Big insurance companies will race premimums, deductibles, etc. You will be left in the cold and fighting world war three.
    Wake up

    September 28, 2013 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  9. norma jean

    :CONSCIENCE CLAUSE??????,,,,,,,,,I wasn't aware that the Republians had a conscience.....or knew the meaning of the word......they're just trying to fool about a million or more people!!!!!

    September 28, 2013 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  10. HenryMiller

    When I saw the phrase "conscience clause," I had this moment of hope that they meant adding a bit to Obamacare allowing people to opt out of that travesty because it's unconscionably offensive. Instead, the neo-cons are just exercising their silly religion.

    September 28, 2013 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  11. Live Free

    Why should my medical care be any of my employers business? Should my employer be able to object to a blood transfusion if their religion objects to that form of medical care?

    September 28, 2013 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  12. don in albuquerque

    Now..... tell me again how they don't want to shut the government down. The GOP are traitor, and fascist who would love nothing better then to destroy this country.

    September 28, 2013 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  13. JT

    so, dems say that it is not needed, and non-prof religious group have this, making it redundant, then what is the big problem with passing it then? If you dont like the coverage/group you have, switch to another one. If you think you need contraceptives, there are other methods of preventing pregnancy, like not "doing it" at all.

    September 28, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  14. highplainswoman

    Oh, boy!!

    Republicans aren't apparently worried about a gender gap (see VA governor's race). What is it with these guys where they think everybody thinks–or ought to think–their way, anyway??

    Regrettably, Mr. Heulskamp is my congressman, much to my dismay. His actions/beliefs make me want to revert back to calling myself a "believer" rather than Christian–and I've complained to Sen. Jerry Moran, KS, that Congressman Huelskmap is an embarressment and a jerk, to boot. Sorry, foiks!

    September 28, 2013 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  15. Stuffit

    Sounds like a good deal since the Muslim president and his corrupt synchophants in the democrat liberal congress are devoted to the persecution of Christians, workers and taxpayers.

    September 28, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  16. Betsy Bruaw

    Let me limit on Viagra though....where do I live again??

    September 28, 2013 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    This should be called the "nonsense clause".

    September 28, 2013 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    this is ridiculous. your obligation as a citizen to obey the nation's laws is not based on whether you have a moral objection to the issue in question. if that were the case, i want a refund of that portion of my taxes that was used to pay for the war in iraq.

    September 28, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  19. Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

    "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."

    Violation of the separation of church and state. If the church wants to play politics, they also need to pay taxes, including back taxes.

    September 28, 2013 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  20. Gary


    September 28, 2013 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  21. Mart

    What is wrong with this people, they cant stop health care act from passing then lets at least get it denied for women. Are the women in the GOP agreeing to this or they just keeping quiet

    September 28, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  22. Mark craddock

    Once again, the truth of intention comes from the Mullahs that head up the Republican Party.. (the American Taliban)

    September 28, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  23. Blessings


    September 28, 2013 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  24. subo

    This is just beautiful.

    September 28, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  25. Gerry Daley

    The American Taliban in action. Utterly disgraceful.

    September 28, 2013 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
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