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But it sounds like he could use a little help, from your Senator too ...

Sen. Merkley Fights Against Moral Exemption Amendment
by April Baer,, Portland, OR -- Feb. 21, 2012

Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley is trying to rally colleagues to reject an amendment that would permit health plans to opt out of certain coverage on moral grounds.

Later this year, health care reforms will require workplace insurance plans to cover birth control costs as a standard, preventive care benefit.

A vote is expected next week on an amendment, offered by Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri.  It would allow any insurer or employer to decline covering a medical service on moral grounds.

Senator Merkley calls that a huge loophole. "This is wide open, this basically says the person who runs an insurance plan gets to impose their view of the world on everyone else."

When do people get a say, in our own health care?

Here's the Press Release from Senator's official site:

Merkley Denounces Senate Amendment That Attacks Women's Health Care
February 21, 2012
Press Release --

Portland, OR – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley gathered with women’s health advocates today to denounce a Senate amendment that would deny health insurance coverage to women for birth control and any essential, preventive health care service if their employer has a religious or moral objection.  Senator Merkley stressed that this amendment, led by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), would be disastrous to women’s health.
   “This amendment is an attack on women’s health care and must be defeated,” said Merkley. “I am here today to make it clear that women’s health is a priority and access to preventive health care benefits should be a right for all women.”
Senator Merkley emphasized that the proposed Blunt amendment would jeopardize critical health care coverage for millions of working Americans, and result in an expansive intrusion into employees’ personal health insurance plans. The legislation would give insurers and employers authority to deny services, while offering no protection for employees and families to receive the care they need -- including maternity care, vaccines, blood transfusions and HIV/AIDS treatment. The giant loophole would dismantle critical protections in the Affordable Care Act and discriminate against at-risk populations.

In light of this very serious subject, instead of my typical snarky commentary, I thought I'd quote the insights of another dkos member, who expressed my feelings of outrage on this Blunt amendment, far better than I ever could:

Did I Miss the Memo on Freedom?
by Elisabetha -- Feb 20, 2012

In general, I think we can all agree that two main points of religious freedom are 1) that you, as an individual, have the right to practice your personal religious beliefs as you see fit in your personal life.  (Barring that you don't hurt people and don't step on others' rights to do the same.)  2) The state cannot force a certain religion upon you.

I'm just wondering, did I miss the memo on freedom?  Did I miss where it says that an employers' religious beliefs trumps the well-being and/or religious beliefs of their employees?  Did I miss where it says that religious freedoms are more important and hold more weight than personal freedoms, the freedom to choose your health care, and the freedom to not be penetrated by the state?  Am I missing something here ...

That's what all of America should be asking about now:

When did they issue the memo that says Employer's "moral convictions" have the ultimate say over the personal and/or religious beliefs of their employees?

If we don't stand up and say "Hell No" -- that Roy Blunt "Memo" revoking our personal freedoms, is scheduled to be issued sometime next week ...

Birth Control Amendment 'Dangerous,' Obama Spokesman Says
by Sam Stein, Laura Bassett, huffingtonpost -- 2/14/12  

"Let's be clear about what's at stake," said Carney. "The proposal being considered in the Senate applies to all employers -- not just religious employers. And it isn't limited to contraception. Any employer could restrict access to any service they say they object to. That is dangerous and it is wrong. Decisions about medical care should be made by a woman and her doctor, not a woman and her boss.”

The measure, proposed by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) would amend the Affordable Care Act to allow any employer to exclude any health service coverage, no matter how critical or basic, by claiming that it violates their religious or moral convictions.

And when will this "religious rollback" of personal freedoms ever end?

Who will put the "separation" principle back onto the National stage?  

... and back into legislative practice?

Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Or) has stepped up to do just that. Don't let him fight that fight alone.

Let your Senator know, that you want them to stand with Merkley, on the side of preserving our personal freedoms.  On the side of protecting -- not rolling back -- Women's Rights.

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