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Editor's note: This post is part of the HERVotes Coalition, which is comprised of women’s organizations representing millions, to counter the attacks on women’s economic and health security. The top priorities of HERvotes are to educate and engage more women to use their voices and their votes to urge lawmakers who seek to represent them to:

  • Stop the attacks on historic advances for women;
  • Preserve successful policies, such as Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act;
  • Respect women’s contribution to the economy; and
  • Act on jobs at livable wages and equal pay for our families’ economic security.

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Welcome to the sixth #HERvotes blog carnival! This time we are speaking out 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, meaning 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.

The decision is imminent. You can urge Obama not to cave into the bishops by signing any of these petitions:

#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.

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