Home Social Issues Gov. George Allen Signed Contraceptive Coverage Into Law; No Exemptions for Religious...

Gov. George Allen Signed Contraceptive Coverage Into Law; No Exemptions for Religious Institutions

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As always, we love to point out rank Republican’t hypocrisy. In this case, it’s their issue du jour, that President Obama is somehow “hostile” to (or even “declared war on”) religion because his administration has stated that contraceptives should be covered under the health care law, with exemptions for churches but not for church-affiliated hospitals, universities, etc. Well, as it turns out, this “war on religion” also is taking place in notoriously liberal Georgia, as well as under Romneycare in Massachusetts. But not here in religion-respecting Virginia, right?

Uh oh.

Accident and sickness insurance; denial of benefits for prescription contraceptives prohibited. Requires any (i) individual or group accident and sickness insurance policies providing hospital, medical and surgical or major medical coverage on an expense incurred basis; (ii) corporation providing individual or group accident and sickness subscription contracts; and (iii) health maintenance organization providing a health care plan for health care services, whose policy, contract or plan, including any certificate or evidence of coverage issued in connection with such policy, contract or plan, includes coverage for prescription drugs on an outpatient basis, to provide in each such policy, contract, plan, certificate, and evidence of coverage that such benefits will not be denied for any drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use as a contraceptive. Each such policy, contract, plan, certificate, and evidence of coverage must also include coverage for a variety of federal Food and Drug Administration approved prescription contraceptives. If the patient’s physician determines that none of the methods designated by the policy, contract, plan, certificate, or evidence of coverage is medically appropriate for the patient, the plan must also provide coverage for another medically approved prescription contraceptive method prescribed by the patient’s physician.

This new section will not require coverage for experimental contraceptive drugs not approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration or coverage for prescription drugs in any contract, policy or plan that does not otherwise provide such coverage. These provisions will not apply to short-term travel, or accident-only policies, or to short-term nonrenewable policies of not more than six months’ duration.

This provision would apply to individual or group accident and sickness insurance policies, contracts, plans, certificates, and evidences of coverage providing outpatient prescription drugs, pursuant to §§ 38.2-4214 and 38.2-4319, on and after July 1, 1996.

Note that there are no exemptions – none, nada, zilch – for religious institutions of any kind mentioned in this Virginia law. Also note that this passed the State Senate 27-12 (Bill Bolling voted “nay,” while several Republicans voted “yea”), passed the House of Delegates 86-12 (“Nay” votes cast by Eric Cantor, Morgan Griffith, Bob Marshall and…Bob McDonnell), and was signed into law by (drum roll please) Governor George “Felix” Allen!

So, what’s with George Allen’s “war on religion” (snark) anyway, especially given that Allen went contrary to conservatives like Eric Cantor, Bob McDonnell, Bill Bolling and Bob Marshall on this one? Perhaps this is something that Bob Marshall might want to ask him when they debate? Should be fun. 🙂

P.S. Allen also signed into law a health provision covering state employees which says, “The plan shall include coverage for prescription drugs and devices approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for use as contraceptives.”

UPDATE: Hahahahaha; Allen recently said, “my view is that this unprecedented mandate by the Obama administration is an abhorrent overreach that violates the very liberty and religious freedom that our country was founded on.” Look in the mirror, dude! Allen also called the Obama administration’s action “unprecedented;” in fact, it had numerous precedents, including Romneycare, Georgia, and…Virginia under Gov. George Allen. Ha.

  • dominic

    “Do as I say, not as I do” attitude. And ol’ Georgie is the biggest abuser and hypocrite of them all.

  • KathyinBlacksburg

    And the GOP knows it.  They don’t mind taking women’s health down to try to mis-portray the President as hostile to religion, a trumped up (false) allegation that is absurd, and laughable.

    The only way the GOP radicals can win (if indeed they can at all) is to create more-of-the-same culture wars and make Americans look past all the outrageous positions in the hurt-the-poor-and-the-sick, end-Medicare, love-to-fire-people crowd of misanthropes running for president on the GOP side.  They think that if they fulminate enough maybe some of the slurs will stick and their base will continue to adore them.

    This is real desperation and it shows how truly chauvinistic, stupid, and out of touch they are.  Most Catholics use artificial birth control and they don’t want to lose theirs anymore than the rest of Americans do.  

    But the amazing thing is that the GOP and right-wing media  are even going down this road. Barring (another) stolen election, these guys are toast.  

    I have got to add here that you will note it is mostly a bunch of old white guys who are fulminating in the media about this. I will also add that most Catholics do not listen to the bishops anyway. So the GOP histrionics (once again) against women right to use birth control should not be taken seriously.  

    Ditto Mark Shields who has just lost touch.  Retire him already.  His BS on this subject shows he has no credibility.  

    Besides: The ruling doesn’t even apply to churches, though the bishops and talking heads try to make Americans think that they do. They apply to any hospital or college taking federal funding.  And that is the prerogative of the White House and the Dept of Health and Human Services.  Period.  Shields ought to be ashamed of himself for helping stir this up into a bigger non-controversy. And as for the rest of the media fuming about this, well, the keep sinking to new lows, over and over.

  • See here.

    February 8, 2012, Washington, DC – Today, twenty-three major mainstream religious leaders released a statement supporting the January 20, 2012 announcement by the Department of Health and Human Services that contraceptive services must be covered by most insurance policies without deductibles or co-pays, and that only purely sectarian organizations are exempt from this requirement.

    Catholics for Choice; the Central Conference of American Rabbis; Concerned Clergy for Choice; Disciples Justice Action Network; Episcopal Divinity School; Episcopal Women’s Caucus; Hadassah; the Jewish Reconstructionist Federation; Jewish Women International; Methodist Federation for Social Action; Muslims for Progressive Values; the National Council of Jewish Women; Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board; the Rabbinical Assembly; the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice; the Religious Institute; Society for Humanistic Judaism; The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism; Union Theological Seminary; Unitarian Universalist Association; United Church of Christ; and Women’s League for Conservative Judaism represent millions of religious leaders and people of faith across the country.

    Together, the leaders of these Christian, Jewish and Muslim national organizations affirmed:

    “We stand with President Obama and Secretary Sebelius in their decision to reaffirm the importance of contraceptive services as essential preventive care for women under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and to assure access under the law to American women, regardless of religious affiliation. We respect individuals’ moral agency to make decisions about their sexuality and reproductive health without governmental interference or legal restrictions. We do not believe that specific religious doctrine belongs in health care reform – as we value our nation’s commitment to church-state separation. We believe that women and men have the right to decide whether or not to apply the principles of their faith to family planning decisions, and to do so they must have access to services. The Administration was correct in requiring institutions that do not have purely sectarian goals to offer comprehensive preventive health care. Our leaders have the responsibility to safeguard individual religious liberty and to help improve the health of women, their children, and families. Hospitals and universities across the religious spectrum have an obligation to assure that individuals’ conscience and decisions are respected and that their students and employees have access to this basic health care service.  We invite other religious leaders to speak out with us for universal coverage of contraception.”

    Signed,

    Catholics for Choice, Jon O’Brien, President

    Central Conference of American Rabbis, Rabbi Jonathan Stein, President

    Concerned Clergy for Choice, Rabbi Dennis Ross, Director

    Disciples Justice Action Network, Rev. Dr. Ken Brooker Langston, Director

    Episcopal Divinity School, The Very Reverend Dr. Katherine Hancock Ragsdale, President

    Episcopal Women’s Caucus, Rev. Dr Elizabeth Kaeton, Convener

    Hadassah, Marcie Natan, National President

    Jewish Reconstructionist Federation, Robert Barkin, Interim Executive Vice President

    Jewish Women International, Lori Weinstein, Executive Director

    Methodist Federation for Social Action, Jill Warren, Executive Director

    Muslims for Progressive Values, Ani Zonneveld, President

    National Council of Jewish Women, Nancy Kaufman, CEO

    Planned Parenthood Clergy Advisory Board, Rev. Jane Emma Newall, Chair

    Rabbinical Assembly, Rabbi Julie Schonfeld, Executive Vice President

    Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, Rev. Steve Clapp, Chair

    Religious Institute, Rev. Dr. Debra W. Haffner, Executive Director

    Society for Humanistic Judaism, M. Bonnie Cousens, Executive Director

    The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, Rabbi Steven Wernick, CEO

    Union Theological Seminary, Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, President

    Unitarian Universalist Association, Rev. Peter Morales, President

    United Church of Christ, Rev. Geoffrey Black, General Minister and President

    Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, Rita L. Wertlieb, President; Sarrae G. Crane, Executive Director