Right now, as we sit here twiddling our thumbs in the face of a probable government shutdown, the House of Representatives has been transformed into a nightmare version of Santa’s workshop, where evil House Republican elves are working all through the night on legislation that would limit women’s access to contraception. Obviously, the whole grisly business is being animated with crude, nightmarish claymation, and Paul Ryan is the dark elf Widow’s Peak who needs to be shown a little compassion by going on a vision quest with a friendly Democratic elf-guide.
That’s basically what’s going on, minus the endearing plot device (in the real world, Widow’s Peak remains an evil elf overlord because life isn’t comprised of character arcs). CNN reports that House Republicans, just before they approved a one-year delay in funding major provisions of the Affordable Care Act, added a measure aimed at limiting contraception coverage to their spending bill. This grossly-nicknamed “conscience clause” would allow employers and insurers to pay for even less of a woman’s health plan by opting out of certain forms of preventative care (birth control) that they find “morally objectionable.” (You can thank Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kansas for pushing so hard for this legislative wet fart.)
Democrats have pointed out that the administration already has an opt-out clause for religious nonprofit employers built into the healthcare law, but the GOP won’t be satisfied until every employer can save money by denying preventative care to female employees under the moral self-righteousness clause.
Image via AP, J. Scott Applewhite