Remember When Joe Biden Tried to Sabotage the Affordable Care Act's Contraceptive Coverage?

Illustration for article titled Remember When Joe Biden Tried to Sabotage the Affordable Care Act's Contraceptive Coverage?
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Fresh on the heels of the Biden campaign’s public endorsement of the Hyde Amendment, the Intercept helpfully reminds us how, in 2012, then-Vice President Joe Biden also wanted to gut the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate.


Biden worked doggedly with conservative Catholic leaders to push for a broad religious-based exemption that would have left millions without contraception coverage. His reasoning? That providing contraception coverage would upset white Catholic men—men coincidentally just like him!—and make them less likely to vote for Obama’s reelection later that year. He apparently had less concern for the millions who would have not had their contraception paid for under his proposal.

Biden’s opposition to the ACA’s contraception provisions was not a secret at the time and was regularly referenced in news coverage. In its reporting, the Intercept pulls from 2012 coverage that made clear just how out of step Biden was with his own party.

Take this ABC News story that goes into the details of the debate within the Obama administration on the contraception mandate. Biden and then-White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, a Catholic like Biden, were on one side, and largely women—from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to senior White House adviser Valerie Jarrett—were on the other:

The two sides couldn’t even agree about what they were debating. In the fall, [Planned Parenthood’s Cecile] Richards brought in polling indicating that the American people overwhelmingly supported the birth control benefit in health insurance. She also highlighted statistics showing the overwhelming use of birth control.

The Vice President and others argued that this wouldn’t be seen as an issue of contraception - it would be seen as an issue of religious liberty. They questioned the polling of the rule advocates, arguing that it didn’t explain the issue in full, it ignored the question of what religious groups should have to pay for. And they argued that women voters for whom this was an important issue weren’t likely to vote for Mitt Romney, who has drawn a strong anti-abortion line as a presidential candidate, saying he would end federal funding to Planned Parenthood and supporting a “personhood” amendment that defines life as beginning at the moment of fertilization.

Luckily for us, Biden did not succeed in carving out a broad exemption for religious institutions (though the Trump administration has done its best to carry that torch for him). But Biden’s opposition serves as a reminder that some of his most deeply held beliefs—his Catholic faith, his personal objection to abortion, his political calculus about which voters matter and which don’t—continue to inform his political decisions and worldview today. And when the needs of women conflict with those views, it’s clear who loses.

Senior reporter, Jezebel



I don’t understand why Jezebel has to split the Democratic Party by reporting all these objectively awful things I didn’t bother to learn at the time and don’t want to learn now cause my mind is made up and changing course even this early in the game would require me to admit fault and that’s cognitively intolerable!

This circular firing squad has got. to. stop. We need to get it back to when the firing squad was semi circular, with a bunch of old white male millionaires lined up with guns, and minority and women voters huddled against the wall, getting ‘who else are you supposed to vote for, huh?’ yelled at them.

Anyway, this is all russian compromat, and I should know, as I am a 68 year old white Boomer with a home paid for and medicare lined up and my childrearing days behind me, so I know this socialism stuff the kids seem to want is a Russian plot. I can see through this online bullshit because unlike you all, I spend 10x more time than my grandkids do on Facebook, which I consider to be The Internet, among a haunted house of ghost/bot accounts and scammy directed ad-news. I’m pretty much a code hacker, though I have yet to figure out how to turn off the ‘click’ sound on my phone’s keyboard.

Anyway, I knitted a pink pussy hat two years ago, so my credentials are impeccable, and since I’m voting for Biden and anyone who complains is a Bad Democrat and a misogynist.

Wake Up! It’s too important to risk letting Trump get another term! He worked to segregate his housing, he molested his employees, mocked sexual assault victims, pack the supreme court, wants to roll back Roe V Wade and rip up the social safety net! We need a guy who worked to segregate Delaware schools, molested his coworkers, mocked Anita Hill live on TV so he could appoint Clarence Thomas and would simply **fail to defend** Roe V Wade.  How is this so hard for some people!