by Kim Gandy, Feminist Majority Foundation

Welcome to the sixth #HERvotes blog carnival on the effort by the Catholic bishops to allow some institutions to refuse, under the Affordable Care Act, birth control coverage without co-pays to students and employees of  hospitals, universities, and other institutions, or other religious affiliated or connected institutions such as Catholic Charities.

Birth control coverage with no co-pays?  Without a doubt one of the most popular benefits of the Affordable Care Act, the preventive care provisions for women require nearly every health insurance provider to cover contraception without any cost sharing.

Until now.  Maybe.  Because there’s a full court press from the Conference of Catholic Bishops (yes, reportedly even the Archbishops are weighing in) pressuring the White House to dramatically expand this refusal clause.

The Catholic bishops want to exempt the health insurance of every religiously-connected or affiliated institution from this requirement, and millions of Americans would lose this benefit – students, teachers and staff at religiously-connected schools and universities; social workers, nurses, and other staff (and their families) at religiously-affiliated hospitals that employ thousands of people, huge organizations like Catholic Charities, and many more – regardless of the religious beliefs of those employees and students.

Although the pro-choice community opposed having any exemptions from contraceptive coverage, the guidelines issued by HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius contained a narrow exemption that applied primarily to houses of worship.  But the bishops want more.  Much more.
If the bishops have their way, at least six million women with health insurance will lose this new contraceptive coverage benefit, for no reason other than where they work or go to school.

We must keep the Affordable Care Act strong, and preventive care for women is critical.

Join us by sharing the posts below on Facebook, Twitter (using the hashtag #HERvotes), and other social media.

If we spread the word far enough we can make sure the White House hears women’s voices as strongly as they are hearing from the bishops.

The blog posts below share more reasons why we need to take action now.  Happy reading and thanks for joining the fight to save contraceptive coverage in the Affordable Care Act.

#HERvotes, a multi-organization campaign launched in August 2011, advocates women using our voices and votes to stop the attacks on the women’s movement’s major advances, many of which are at risk in the next election.  We are very excited HERvotes is growing in membership and reaching millions of people.

Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.

Birth Control Under Attack- Debra Ness, National Partnership for Women and Families

Losing My Religion: Catholic Bishops Attack Reproductive Rights, Hoping to Undermine Birth Control Coverage- Megan Kearns, Opinioness of the World

Don’t Boss My Birth Control- Amy Cotton, National Council of Jewish Women

Conservative Media Are Still Pretending That Catholics Don’t Support Insurance Coverage For Contraception- Marcus Feldman, Media Matters

President Obama: Don’t Cave in to Bishops- Say It Sister, NOW’s Blog for Equality

Fight Against an Expanded Religious Exemption that Denies Birth Control Coverage- Dren Asselmeier, Center for Inquiry on Campus

Latinas urge Obama Administration to Support Birth Control Access For All Women- Rebecca Pleitez, National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health

Conscience Clause: Preserving Morality or Creating Immorality?- Liz Beaulac, National Women’s Law Center

Sad Reality: New President, Same Fight- Stephanie Drahan, National Women’s Law Center

Make the Promise of Preventative Care in the ACA Real for All Women- The Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health

Calling On President Obama to Demonstrate His Respect for Women- Amy Allina, Raising Women’s Voices for the Health Care We Need

The Catholic Church Wasn’t on My Ballot: What’s Next for President Obama and Birth Control - Abigail Collazo, Fem 2.0

What is So Wrong With Abstinence Education? – Kat Sabine – the Bitch in the house

Take Action: Don’t Let the Catholic Church Deny Birth Control Coverage to Millions – Holly L. Derr, Ms. Magazine

Is Obama Caving to Bishops out of Misplaced “Gratitude”? – Holly L. Derr, Ms. Magazine

The Other 99% – Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, blogging on Huffington Post

A Message About Birth Control from the 71% – Meghan Shalvoy, Feminist Majority Foundation

The Other 99%: Will Obama Betray Them? - Carole Joffe, RHRealityCheck

Washington Post’s Gerson Ignores Catholics’ Opinions To Accuse The Obama Administration Of “Anti-Catholic Bias“- M.F., Media Matters

Right-Wing Media Twist Pelosi’s “Conscience” Comment To Claim She “Bash[ed] Catholics”- C.R., Media Matters

Fox & Friends Hypes Gerson’s Op-Ed To Accuse Obama Of Being “Anti-Catholic”- Media Matters

Women’s Basic Health Coverage Is Not For Sale- Miri Cypers, Jewish Women International

Tell Obama to Protect Birth Control- Maureen Shaw, sherights

Tell President Obama All Women Need Affordable Birth Control- Judy Waxman, National Women’s Law Center

My Employer Shouldn’t Control My Contraception Decisions- Leila Abolfazli, National Women’s Law Center

Blog Carnival: #HERVotes against the Bishops- Heather Prescott, Knitting Clio

Should Catholic Bishops Have the Right to Control Your Life?- Janet Hill, Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW)

An Open Letter to President Obama- National Organization for Women

Should Organized Religion Have More Rights Than Women?- Georgia Platts, Ms. Magazine

Check out the action petitions:

Catholics for Choice

National Women’s Law Center

Feminist Majority Foundation

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

NARAL Pro-Choice America

Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health

National Council of Jewish Women

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