Baucus Blasts Effort to Undermine Womens Preventive Health Care: Not on My Watch!
Senator Opposes Effort to Unfairly Target Women as Part of Highway Bill Negotiations
Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Posted: Wednesday, February 29, 2012
(Washington, D.C.) - Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus stood up today in opposition to a Highway Bill amendment that would strip preventive health care coverage to 62,000 Montana women. Baucus, who is the lead architect of the highway bill, said the amendment from Senator Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) inappropriately aims to take the focus off the nation's infrastructure while attempting to limit preventive health care coverage
"In Montana, 62,000 women with expanded preventive health care coverage could lose access to that coverage. I'm here to say that is wrong and I'm going to go bat for them. I think a woman should decide for herself and her family, what preventive care makes most sense for her," Baucus said.
"The current policy preserves the integrity of a woman's right to access health care services while also protecting the legitimate religious liberties that so many Americans - myself included - value. However, the Blunt Amendment would allow any company to deny health care options to deny access to any service for any moral objection. In Montana we're very proud to have sent the first woman to Congress in 1916 - Jeanette Rankin. We have a strong tradition of respecting women and supporting women's health. When we support women's health, we are supporting healthy communities that can be strong for our kids and grandkids."
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote on the Blunt amendment tomorrow (Thursday March 1st) which would allow employers to take away preventive health care coverage including mammograms, prenatal care, flu shots and contraception from their female employees for virtually any reason.
Floor Statement of Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
In Opposition to the Blunt Amendment Undermining Women's Health
As prepared for delivery
Mr. President, I rise to object to the Blunt Amendment. This extreme amendment would undermine the delicate balance between religious freedom and women's health. It would be a mistake. It goes too far.
This amendment goes far beyond contraception. It would allow any employer to prevent a woman's access to mammograms, prenatal care or even vaccinations.
In Montana alone, 62,000 women could lose access to preventive care. I'm here to say that is wrong. I'm going to go to bat for them and their families.
As Americans, we believe in individual liberties and equal access to health coverage. Current policy upholds these values.
It preserves the integrity of a woman's freedom and right to access all health care services, and it protects the religious liberties that so many Americans - myself included - value. That's why both the faith-based and health communities support this policy.
The Blunt amendment would overturn this common-sense policy. It would allow any corporation or health plan to deny women and their families' access to preventive health care for almost any reason. That's just not right.
So I urge my colleagues to vote no on the Blunt amendment. I urge them to protect the health of all Americans. That includes our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters in Montana and across the country.
In Montana, we are proud to have sent the first woman to Congress in 1916. We have a strong tradition of respecting the women who are not only the hearts of our families, but who also provide the fabric of our communities.
When we support women's health, we are supporting healthy communities that can be strong for our kids and grandkids.
So let us uphold our values of liberty and equality. Let us treat all Americans equally. Let us defend against discriminatory health insurance practices. Let us do so while protecting everyone's fundamental rights.
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