Thursday, March 15, 2012

Contraception could emerge as major issue in Virginia's 2012 U.S. Senate Race

From left to right: Ann Holton, Shannon Taylor, and Tim Kaine--Kaine is obviously not afraid of associating with strong women, can George F. Allen say the same?

Tim Kaine's U.S. Senate campaign is drawing a clear distinction between Tim Kaine and George Allen's record on women's health and contraception. According to the Kaine campaign, George Allen has been a long-term and enthusiastic leader in the Republican Party's War on Women. From the Kaine campaign:

Richmond, VA - It turns out that George Allen's record of opposition to equitable and comprehensive preventive care for women, including contraception, goes back further than his support for personhood and the Blunt Amendment in this campaign. On this day in 2005, George Allen voted against a measure that would guarantee equitable prescription drug coverage for contraception. The bipartisan effort simply attempted to require that insurance companies who provide prescriptions like Viagra for men, should also provide FDA approved contraception for women.

But what is perhaps more shocking is that two years earlier, Allen also opposed a similar measure that had been drafted by a fellow Republican Senator and backed by Virginia's U.S. Senator, John Warner.

"It's clear that George Allen sees no room for common ground or compromise on increasing access to affordable contraception for women. Whether it's a measure introduced by a Republican or a Democrat, George Allen has dug in his heels and opposed common sense legislation that would remove a financial burden for women across this country by requiring insurance companies to cover contraception. I guess we should expect nothing less from the reelection candidate who supports a national 'personhood' bill that could make forms of contraception illegal," said Kaine for Virginia Communications Director Brandi Hoffine.


2005: Allen Voted Against An Amendment That Would Have Given Women Equal Access To Prescription Contraception. In 2005, Senator Clinton offered an amendment to expand women’s access to preventive health care. Her amendment would have put the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage (EPICC) bill in place, which would have required insurance plans that cover prescription drugs like Viagra to offer equitable coverage of FDA-approved contraception. [Vote 75, 3/15/05]
--Amendment From Senators Clinton And Reid Would Have Put In Place The Equity In Prescription Insurance And Contraception Act (EPICC]. A press release from the office of Senator Reid stated, “Sponsored by Senators Clinton and Reid, the amendment offers a common ground, common sense approach that will reduce the number of unintended pregnancies and the resulting abortions, and help women have healthy pregnancies and healthy children. . . . Today, I am joining with Senator Clinton to introduce an amendment that offers not only common ground, but common sense. . . . Specifically, our amendment would allow us to: . . . Pass the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage (EPICC) bill so we may end insurance discrimination against women.” [Press Release, Office of Senator Reid, 3/15/06]
2003: Allen Voted Against Measure To Improve Women’s Access To Contraception. In 2003, Allen voted against an amendment that would have enacted the Equity in Prescription Insurance and Contraceptive Coverage Act of 2003 (EPICC). EPICC required insurance plans that covered prescription drugs to also offer equitable coverage of FDA-approved contraception. The EPICC bill had previously been introduced twice by Senator Olympia Snowe, as S104 in 2001, and as S1214 in 2003. Both bills were co-sponsored by Senator John Warner. [Vote 45, 3/11/03]
--Los Angeles Times: Senate Refused To Require Health Plans To Cover Prescription Birth Control For Women In The Same Way They Cover Viagra. An editorial in the Los Angeles Times stated, “Here's what a majority of senators refused to do last week . . . * Require private health plans to cover prescription birth control for women in the same way they do other doctor-prescribed drugs, including Viagra for men. . . . * Pass a proposal to make emergency contraception -- the so-called morning-after pill -- more widely available to women who fear becoming pregnant as a result of unprotected sex, including rape. The pill prevents ovulation or, when ovulation has already occurred, can prevent fertilization or implantation in the uterus. . . . The Senate's summary rejection of Murray's contraceptive amendments, aside from its hypocrisy, also fuels fear of a broader attack on women's reproductive rights.” [Editorial, Los Angeles Times, 3/19/03]

--Measure Would Have Required Insurance Companies To Cover FDA-Approved Contraception Just As They Do Viagra. The Portland Press Herald reported, “CONTRACEPTION: Senators failed, 49-47, to reach 60 votes needed to add provisions on contraceptives to a bill (S 3, above) that bans ‘partial-birth’ abortions. A yes vote was, in part, to require health insurers to cover the ‘morning-after’ pill just as they do Viagra. Collins and Snowe both voted yes.” [Portland Press Herald, 3/16/03]

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