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Kelly Ayotte: Democrats Falsely Claim Women Will Lose Access to Contraception

4:04 PM, Feb 29, 2012 • By JOHN MCCORMACK
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Democratic senator Chuck Schumer took to the Senate floor this morning to denounce a conscience bill up for a vote tomorrow, calling it a "contraception ban."

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"For millions of women whose boss may have a religious objection, this would amount to a contraception ban," said Schumer. Not content with the familiar Democratic line that conservatives want to send America back to the 1950s, New York's senior senator claimed the conscience bill could send us "back to the 19th century." 

A few hours later, Kelly Ayotte, freshman Republican senator from New Hampshire and an original cosponsor of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, sought to correct the record during her own floor remarks. She defended the bill as a fundamental matter of religious freedom and said that “unfortunately, many have tried to characterize this amendment as denying women access to contraception. That’s a red herring and it’s false. We are talking about government mandates that are interfering with conscience protections here that have long been ingrained in our law."

“And just to be clear," she continued, "women had access to these services before the president passed the Affordable Care Act. And after this amendment would be passed, they would still have access to these important services. Contrary to what some of my friends on the other side of the aisle have asserted, this measure simply allows health care providers and companies to have the same conscience rights they had before the president's health care bill took effect. This goes to the heart of who we are. If we allow the government to dictate the coverage of plans paid for by religious institutions, that’s the first step down a slippery slope."

Ayotte, of course, was correct. The conscience bill merely restores protections that existed prior to Obamacare. But it would be surprising to see her strong and succinct remarks broadcast on the nightly news. After all, as a female Northeastern Republican and an outspoken opponent of Obamacare's contraception and abortifacient mandate, she's not supposed to exist.

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