As if Congress needed another roadblock over the weekend to passing a spending bill and trying to avoid a federal shutdown, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Fowler, and other House Republicans succeeded in adding one more Saturday night: a “conscience clause” enabling insurers and employers to opt out of covering preventive care for women, such as birth control, on moral or religious grounds. Some religious nonprofit organizations already can be exempted from the Affordable Care Act’s mandated coverage of such preventive services. But Huelskamp claimed in a statement that because of the Department of Health and Human Services mandate, “millions of Americans – from Hobby Lobby to the Little Sisters of the Poor – are currently being forced to violate their deeply held religious beliefs.”
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