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Baucus Blasts Effort to Undermine Women's Preventive Health Care: Not on My Watch!

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Published on Feb 29, 2012

Baucus Floor Statement
February 29, 2012
{Text as prepared for delivery}

Mr. President, I rise to object to the Blunt Amendment. This extreme amendment would undermine the delicate balance between religious freedom and women's health. It would be a mistake. It goes too far.

This amendment goes far beyond contraception. It would allow any employer to prevent a woman's access to mammograms, prenatal care or even vaccinations.

In Montana alone, 62,000 women could lose access to preventive care. I'm here to say that is wrong. I'm going to go to bat for them and their families.

As Americans, we believe in individual liberties and equal access to health coverage. Current policy upholds these values.

It preserves the integrity of a woman's freedom and right to access all health care services, and it protects the religious liberties that so many Americans -- myself included -- value. That's why both the faith-based and health communities support this policy.

The Blunt amendment would overturn this common-sense policy. It would allow any corporation or health plan to deny women and their families' access to preventive health care for almost any reason. That's just not right.

So I urge my colleagues to vote no on the Blunt amendment. I urge them to protect the health of all Americans. That includes our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters in Montana and across the country.

In Montana, we are proud to have sent the first woman to Congress in 1916. We have a strong tradition of respecting the women who are not only the hearts of our families, but who also provide the fabric of our communities.

When we support women's health, we are supporting healthy communities that can be strong for our kids and grandkids.

So let us uphold our values of liberty and equality. Let us treat all Americans equally. Let us defend against discriminatory health insurance practices. Let us do so while protecting everyone's fundamental rights.
{end text}

(Editors' note: the specific amendment referred to above is Blunt Amendment #1520 to S. 1813, the Surface Transportation Bill also referred to as the Highway Bill)

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