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Is this really the hill Republicans want to die on? Didn’t we already have this argument like…I don’t know…50 years ago? Do their campaign strategerists actually think that ‘Keep ‘em barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen where they belong’ is a winner in the 2012 race for the White House? What’s next on the GOP agenda? Repeal of the 19th Amendment?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell yesterday:

“The fact that the White House thinks this is about contraception is the whole problem. This is about freedom of religion, it’s right there in the First Amendment. You can’t miss it — right there in the very first amendment to our Constitution,” McConnell said. “What the overall view on the issue of contraception is has nothing to do with an issue about religious freedom.”

McConnell went on to embellish the argument, claiming Obama is being “rigid in his view that he gets to decide what somebody else’s religion is.” He said that “this issue will not go away until the administration simply backs down.”

…“If we end up having to try to overcome the President’s opposition by legislation, of course I’d be happy to support it, and intend to support it,” McConnell said. “We’ll be voting on that in the Senate and you can anticipate that that would happen as soon as possible.”

That would be the legislation proposed by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the Blunt Amendment, which would, according to the National Women’s Law Center:

“[A]llow employers and insurance companies to refuse coverage of any health care service required under the new health care law based on undefined “religious beliefs or moral convictions.” This creates a huge loophole in the new health care law’s coverage requirements. For example, any corporation whose CEO opposes contraception based on his “moral convictions” could deny all coverage of contraception or any other service to the company’s employees. Even more disturbing, a CEO’s view of “morality” could potentially include concern for the cost of a particular benefit. Such broad, undefined refusals (without any protections for the insured) would result in millions of individuals losing vital health service coverage.”

The NWLC gives a few examples of what that might mean:

“A plan could claim a moral or religious basis in order to refuse to cover HIV/AIDS screenings or counseling.

A health plan in the individual market could refuse to cover mental health care on the grounds that the plan believes that psychiatric problems should be treated with prayer.
A small employer could offer a plan that does not cover maternity care for unmarried women in its plan, claiming that such coverage violates its belief that sex and procreation are permissible only within the marital relationship

An individual could object to coverage of vaccines for children, so the plan could then not be required to do so.

An insurer could refuse to provide coverage of any health care service to an interracial couple because of a religious or moral objection to such relationships.

An insurer could refuse to cover routine sonograms during the course of a pregnancy for a single woman even if routine dental X-rays or PAP smears are covered, due to a religious or moral objection to pregnancies out of wedlock.”

Here’s another one. What if a Muslim employer refused to cover his or her employees unless the plan provided that, based on religious convictions, men cannot be treated by women doctors, and vice versa. Do you think Republicans would defend this Muslim employer’s right to religious freedom? I’ll go out on a limb and guess no.

I like this take from Bark Bark Woof Woof:

“Okay, let’s see; the Republicans have already dissed just about every minority there is: the African-Americans, the Hispanics, the immigrants, the Muslims, anyone who’s not straight, anyone who speaks another language besides English, anyone who believes in science, anyone who believes in climate change, anyone who likes Clint Eastwood, and anyone else who’s held a view that isn’t in line with the white, straight, evangelical Christian male patriarchy. Now they’re going after the majority of Americans — women — and anyone who uses any kind of birth control or contraception, which includes everyone in the above-mentioned list.

So who’s left?”