On the first day of Women’s History Month, Democrats in the Senate narrowly defeated a Republican effort to let employers and health insurance companies deny contraceptives and other items they object to on religious or moral grounds.
In a 51-to-48 vote along partisan lines the Senate upheld the Obama administration’s policy requiring that employees of religion-affiliated institutions have access to health insurance that covers birth control.
By defeating the measure Senate Democrats beat back an effort by Republicans to infringe on women’s rights.
“The Senate will not allow women’s health care choices to be taken away from them,” said Senator Patty Murray, Democrat of Washington.
Republicans stances on family-planning funds, access to contraception and abortion rights have recently becoming increasingly strident.
Republicans in the Pennsylvania House are considering a bill to mandate ultrasounds for women seeking abortions.
State Rep. Cherelle L. Parker, D-Phila., called the proposed legislation “offensive, demeaning and completely unnecessary.’
The Virginia Senate last week passed a bill to require noninvasive ultrasounds on women seeking abortions.
The most reprehensible attack on women’s rights came from conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh who called a woman a “slut” and “prostitute” because she testified before Congress about the need for contraceptive coverage.
President Barack Obama was right to defend Sandra Fluke, a third-year Georgetown University law student, who was unfairly attacked by Limbaugh.
The president called Fluke to “express his disappointment that she has been the subject of inappropriate personal attacks” and to thank her for speaking out on an issue of public policy, said White House spokesman Jay Carney.
After a strong political backlash and the withdrawal of several advertisers from his radio show, Limbaugh apologized Saturday for his “insulting” remarks.
Limbaugh’s vile and appalling attack on Fluke reveals how low and desperate some conservatives will go in their attack on women’s rights.