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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 10, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 06
Sen. Patty Murray defends reproductive healthcare
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Sen. Patty Murray defends reproductive healthcare

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Washington Senator Patty Murray strongly defended women's access to contraception under President Obama's Affordable Care Act at a press conference February 8.

'This is a fight to protect the rights of the millions of Americans who do use contraceptives - who believe that family planning is the right choice for them - and who don't deserve to have an extreme minority's ideology prevent them from getting the coverage they deserve,' Murray said.

She appeared with Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D- N.Y.) to counter charges by Republicans that the president's health care reform violated the rights of religious institutions by requiring all employers to offer a full range of health care options - including contraception - to their employees.

Roman Catholic hospitals and charitie

s have claimed that offering insurance policies that cover contraception would violate their religious principles. Murray, on the other hand, said that the issue was women's right to access all health care options, including contraception.

'You know - with the combined years of experience of all those on stage here today,' Murray said, 'I can tell you that we have seen a lot of political attacks on women's rights.

'Each time those attacks come - each time those on the other side attempt to exploit women's rights for their own political gain - we hear the same excuses. Every time we hear that it's not really an attack on women's health care - it's always about something else.

'Well, we have news for the Republicans - this is about contraception. And if they think it isn't, we'd love to hear them tell the women whose access to contraception is on the line that it's not.'

Noting that 'the vast majority of Catholics utilize contraception services,' Murray told the stories of two women, employees at Catholic hospitals, who may lose contraception coverage if the president's plan is successfully challenged.

She also accused Republicans of 'making political hay' out of the issue.

Like 25 other states, Washington already requires insurers that cover prescription drugs to also provide coverage for any FDA-approved contraceptive. As in the Affordable Care Act, churches are exempt, but church-owned or operated hospitals, schools, or charities are not.

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