Activists on both sides of the abortion debate have unleashed new ads and grass-roots lobbying drives in the ongoing fight over birth control requirements in the 2010 health care law.
A campaign dubbed â€œBirth Control: We All Benefitâ€ launched by the Planned Parenthood Federation of America includes TV ads in Kentucky that targeted Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
McConnell â€œwants to let bosses deny women birth control coverage even while men get their Viagra covered,â€ states a female narrator in the ad. Planned Parenthood released the ad after McConnell joined 10 other GOP senators in co-signing an amicus brief backing the arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. in a legal challenge to the contraception mandate.
Unveiled last month, the Planned Parenthood effort concurs with a â€œCall2Conscienceâ€ campaign also launched in February by the anti-abortion Susan B. Anthony List. The Susan B. Anthony List campaign pulls together more than 50 like-minded groups focused on a legislative fix.
The â€œCall2Conscienceâ€ groups lobbied without success recently to block implementation of the contraception mandate as part of the House-approved continuing budget resolution. (Planned Parenthood and close to 40 allied groups weighed in against that effort.) Abortion opponents are now focused on a bill introduced by Rep. Diane Black, R-Tenn., the Health Care Conscience Rights Act, that aims to exempt employers with religious and conscience objections.
â€œIf itâ€™s in statute, itâ€™s going to be way tougher for the courts to go after it,â€ said Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser. â€œAnd so Congress is the linchpin.â€ She added that her group and its allies have set out to convince lawmakers to attach the Black bill to must-pass budget or other legislation.
The Affordable Care Actâ€™s contraception provisions, which offer birth control coverage without a patient co-pay, have drawn fire since even before the law was enacted. Many religious organizations, abortion opponents and private sector employers object in particular to medications known as â€œmorning-after pillsâ€ that they equate with abortion.
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