by Kim Gandy, Feminist Majority Foundation

Welcome to the sixth #HERvotes blog carnival 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 employeesof 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, and 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.

#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.

Take Action: Don’t Let the Catholic Church Deny Birth Control Coverage to Millions – Holly L. Derr, Ms. Magazine
Is Obama Caving to Bishops out of Misplaced “Gratitude”? – Holly L. Derr, Ms. Magazine

The Other 99% – Cecile Richards, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, blogging on Huffington Post

A Message About Birth Control from the 71% – Meghan Shalvoy, Feminist Majority Foundation

The Other 99%: Will Obama Betray Them? – Carole Joffe, RHRealityCheck

Washington Post’s Gerson Ignores Catholics’ Opinions To Accuse The Obama Administration Of “Anti-Catholic Bias”- M.F., Media Matters

Right-Wing Media Twist Pelosi’s “Conscience” Comment To Claim She “Bash[ed] Catholics”– C.R., Media Matters

Fox & Friends Hypes Gerson’s Op-Ed To Accuse Obama Of Being “Anti-Catholic”– Media Matters

Women’s Basic Health Coverage Is Not For Sale– Miri Cypers, Jewish Women International

Tell Obama to Protect Birth Control– Maureen Shaw, sherights

Tell President Obama All Women Need Affordable Birth Control– Judy Waxman, National Women’s Law Center

My Employer Shouldn’t Control My Contraception Decisions– Leila Abolfazli, National Women’s Law Center

Check out the action petitions:
Catholics for Choice
National Women’s Law Center
Feminist Majority Foundation
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
NARAL Pro-Choice America
Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health

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