A Battle of the Midwest: Chump vs. Champ
Should women have access to no-cost birth control no matter who their boss is?
Well, we think the answer is obvious (and so do the majority of Americans), but some anti-women’s health legislators used this week as an opportunity to mislead the public in their efforts to undermine women’s health.
This week, one man in particular took the cake — delivering a speech on the House floor that was nothing less than slanderous — full of mischaracterizations and falsities about birth control. For this memorable (and unfortunate) speech, we couldn’t imagine naming anyone other than House Speaker John Boehner as our Chump of the Week.
Calling on the Obama administration to reverse its new rule, which requires most employers' insurance plans to cover birth control with no co-pay for employees, Boehner opened his remarks by highlighting the fact that “Americans of every faith and political persuasion have mobilized in objection to a rule put forward by the Obama administration.” He completely chose to ignore the fact that the majority of Americans, including the majority of Catholics, support birth control without co-pay. In fact, numerous Catholics like Victoria in Michigan and Mary in Washington have spoken out in favor of this new rule. Nevertheless, the overwhelming popularity of birth control doesn’t seem to faze Boehner, who clearly wants to use the voices of a few to punish many.
Continuing on his anti-women’s health rant, Boehner proclaimed the new rule would require faith-based employers to provide services that they deem immoral — including “abortion-inducing drugs and devices.” Apparently the fact that this isn’t remotely true — and emergency contraception is not abortion-inducingâ€•doesn’t stop this Ohioan. His attempts to undermine women’s health by falsely characterizing the nature of this popular benefit really put him over the top. That’s why this week, we are bestowing our Chump Crown to Speaker John Boehner.
But not every Midwesterner has the same views when it comes to affordable access to birth control. For years, Senator Claire McCaskill has been an outspoken advocate for women’s health and her comments this week didn’t disappoint.
When women’s health came under attack, Claire McCaskill stood up. Speaking on KMOX radio earlier this week she highlighted what was really at stake if the new law protecting birth control access was reversed: “If I work in the cafeteria at a hospital on one side of Interstate 270 and my sister works at a hospital on the other side of I-270, should my availability of birth control be determined by what organization runs the hospital?" This truly sums it up: every woman deserves access to no-cost birth control no matter who their boss is. But McCaskill wasn’t done defending this benefit.
As a Catholic herself, McCaskill understands that while this subject may be difficult and emotional, “if you really believe that reducing abortions are important in this country, which I do, then it doesn’t work to keep putting up barriers to women getting birth control.” And compared to Speaker Boehner, McCaskill would know, considering Missouri is one of the 28 states that already requires insurance coverage — Ohio does not. If you truly want to protect women’s health and reduce the need for abortion, then access to birth control is critical.
Senator Claire McCaskill spoke out for women this week and we’re speaking out for her — she truly is a champion when it comes to protecting women’s health.
Photo credit: AP Photo/Alex Brandon; AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite