Today two female Republican Senators who had previously said they backed President Obama's adjusted birth control regulation now seem to be backpedaling on that support, according to TPM:
After indicating that they were placated by President Obama’s tweaked birth control regulation, Maine Republican Sens. Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins appear to be hedging on it, speaking late Tuesday to Jonathan Riskind of the home-state Portland Press Herald.
The two senators told Riskind they support the bill by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) that would permit any employer to deny contraceptive services in their health plans, but neither are backing the measure by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) that would let any employer deny any service they morally object to.
The bill, introduced by Marco Rubio last week is called the "Religious Freedom Restoration Act." In announcing the bill, Rubio said “This is a common-sense bill that simply says the government can’t force religious organizations to abandon the fundamental tenets of their faith because the government says so.” Rubio is among a small group of legislators that receives money from a Catholic group that has been opposed to the mandate for some time.
But is this bill really about "religious freedom?" Not exactly. While the bill would allow institutions or corporations to cut off birth control coverage "for religious" grounds, what is deemed religious could be a very broad term, as explained in a recent article from Mother Jones:
....this means that no entity has to cover birth control in a health plan if it can point to a religious reason for not doing so. And the entity itself is not required to have any religious affiliation. It could just be a plain old corporation. That means that if the middle-aged white guy who runs your company is religiously opposed to birth control, he can have it stripped out of your insurance plan—even if his Viagra is still covered. You could wake up the next morning and find you're paying full price for drugs that you once got for free or at much-reduced prices.
That's any employer, citing any religious objections they might have. Should an employer object, that would mean a female employee would have to pay for birth control out of pocket, not a cheap expense. 99% of women in this country use birth control of some sort, and this would force them to pay for their own or simply look for work elsewhere, provided that they could find an employer who didn't object in some way.
Also keep in mind that many women use birth control for health reasons other than merely contraception, like ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, and fibroid tumors among many others. That employer may have religious reasons against using birth control, but that choice wouldn't help a woman with any of these other health issues.
President Obama's ACA contraception rule allows a woman to make her own choices and have affordable access to contraception if she so chooses.
Marco Rubio isn't really protecting "religious freedom." He's using religion as a wedge issue to protect employers and insurance companies, not to mention throwing yet another obstacle in front of the Affordable Care Act.