Remember Todd Akin, the GOP Senate candidate in Missouri who talked about “legitimate rape?” Akin’s comments were ignorant, insensitive, and out-of-touch. Which is why we were disappointed Nevada Republicans seem to be taking their cues on women’s health from Todd Akin.
Last week, the Republican nominee for Nevada Controller, Ron Knecht, wrote an op-ed where he essentially said new guidelines to prevent sexual assault on college campuses are an example of federal overreach. He even blamed programs to prevent sexual assault for the increase in college tuition!
Ron Knecht’s comments were moronic, but unfortunately not surprising. Whether it’s Sen. Dean Heller’s support for restricting access to contraception, Rep. Joe Heck’s votes to ban abortion for rape victims and to weaken the Violence Against Women Act, or Nevada Republican Senate Leader, and former Tom DeLay operative, Michael Roberson, supporting “personhood” measures which could outlaw forms of birth control, Nevada Republicans time and time again demonstrate they are completely clueless when it comes to women’s health.
Fortunately, Nevadans have a clear choice in the election for State Controller. While Ron Knecht is focused on criticizing programs to help sexual assault victims, Democratic nominee Andrew Martin will focus on managing the state’s finances.
When the Supreme Court made the terrible decision to allow corporations like Hobby Lobby to discriminate against women, members of Congress were ready to fight back to defend women’s access to birth control.
Senators Murray, Udall and Boxer quickly introduced a bill to make sure that corporations can’t interfere with employees’ access to health care, including birth control, as provided for by the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) under federal law. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid fast-tracked the bill, bringing it for a full vote in the Senate today.
Not surprisingly, Republicans, including Nevada’s own Senator Dean Heller, used the filibuster to block an up-or-down vote on the bill, meaning it will now take 60 votes to pass this bill. Only two Republicans broke from their caucus’s en bloc action — Senators Kirk and Murkowski.
Republicans continue to use the filibuster to shut down sensible legislation, and provide cover for their members who don’t want to go on the record in opposition to things like birth control access for women, common sense gun law reform, or relief for crushing student loan debt.
This week, they used the filibuster to block a legislative remedy for the disastrous Hobby Lobby v. Burwell decision. Outrageously, the five male justices on the Supreme Court ruled that the contraception mandate violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In oral arguments, Chief Justice John Roberts suggested that Congress could exempt the Affordable Care Act from the RFRA as a way of protecting the inclusion of contraception as preventative care in the ACA. The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act does exactly that, and would have protected not only women’s access to contraception from employer discrimination, but any employees’ access to any health care provided through the Affordable Care Act.
Tell Senate Republicans to end their filibuster and allow a vote on women’s access to birth control. Click the link below to automatically sign the petition:
Vote #228 held on July 16, 2014, 02:09 PM EDT on the Motion to Proceed (Motion to Invoke Cloture on the Motion to Proceed to S.2578 )
— Roberta Lange, Nevada State Democratic Party Chair
A few weeks ago, the United States Supreme Court issued a backwards ruling that allows for-profit corporate CEOs to make medical decisions that should be made between a woman and her doctor. That’s right – in the year 2014, the Supreme Court thinks female employees’ healthcare decisions should be made in a corporate boardroom, not a doctor’s office.
This week, the United States Senate will vote on legislation to address the Supreme Court’s ruling and ensure women who work at for-profit corporations have access to reproductive healthcare. While Democrats like Senator Reid, Reps. Dina Titus and Steven Horsford, and Erin Bilbray support ensuring women have access to reproductive healthcare, Republicans like Dean Heller and Joe Heck have consistently voted to restrict women’s access to contraception.
In support of the Senate bill, Nevada Democrats are launching #ItsNotUpToThem week. All week we will be highlighting how dangerous the Republican agenda is for the health of Nevada women. Because whether it’s Mark Hutchison leading the charge to go back to a time where private insurance companies could treat being a woman as a pre-existing condition, or Joe Heck voting to weaken the Violence Against Women Act, it’s time we send a message to Nevada Republicans that women’s healthcare decisions aren’t up to them or corporate bosses.
Please note that Roberta mentioned Candidate Erin Bilbray who is running agains Rep. Joe Heck, but failed to mention Candidate Kristen Spees who is running against Rep. Mark Amodei to represent those of us who are unfortunate enough to live in NV-Congressional District 2!
Corporate owners are NOT entitled to SUPER-CITIZENSHIP RIGHTS that they can wield in a discriminatory fashion against their employees. It’s time to end this culture war once and for all in November. We, as Democrats, need to encourage everybody we know to go to the polls and vote for folks who will actively work for the benefit of not just men, but women too. If we don’t vote and if we don’t convince our Independent and Non-Partisan friends to vote with us, we’ll have nothing but gridlock in Washington, one government shutdown after another and the introduction of second-class citizenship for women.
Immediately after the Hobby Lobby ruling, Rick Warren and other high-profile religious leaders began lobbying the Obama administration. Their demand? A religious exemption from his executive order which would ban federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. This is not about freedom of religion—it’s about corporations using religion as a license to discriminate with taxpayer dollars.
This executive order is the next battleground between those clamoring for exemptions and those, like us, who believe that religious liberty shouldn’t be an excuse to impose your beliefs on others. While we can’t change the Supreme Court’s ruling, we can call on Obama to resist the pressure from the religious right.
The Court’s decision created the potential for far-reaching, discriminatory ramifications. In their ruling, they set a dangerous precedent, sanctioning discrimination against women under the guise of religious liberty. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said it best: “the court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”
Just yesterday, the ACLU withdrew support for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because of a loophole that would grant religiously affiliated organizations free rein to engage in workplace discrimination against LGBT people–the very thing ENDA is intended to prevent.
There is a clear line connecting the Court’s ruling about contraception and the hiring and firing of LGBT employees. That line is allowing bosses to use their personal religious beliefs to discriminate against their employees.
If tens of thousands of us speak out against this today, we can help Obama resist the mounting pressure from religious groups seeking the right to discriminate.