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Here’s how incredibly extreme the Blunt Amendment is (was)

The smokescreen rhetoric from Republicans about the Blunt Amendment, which went down to defeat in the U.S. Senate yesterday, has perhaps obscured, in some people’s minds, the true nature of this radical measure.

The amendment, sponsored by Missouri Republican Roy Blunt [above], was not merely a common-sense defense of First Amendment rights as they apply to employers providing health-care coverage to their workers. It was something far more draconian than that.

THIS EDITORIAL in The New York Times sums it up best:

The amendment, which was enthusiastically endorsed by Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum, would have allowed any employer or insurance company to refuse coverage for any activity to which they claim a religious or moral objection.

That would have meant that any employer who objects to cervical-cancer vaccines could have refused to provide health insurance that covers them. The same goes for prenatal sonograms for unmarried mothers, or birth control, H.I.V. screening or mammograms.

Got that? Any employer. Any insurance company. Any activity to which they object.

That this amendment has now been brushed aside for the time being does not change a disturbing reality: The fact remains that it was supported by all but one of the Republicans in the Senate and by the two front-runners for the GOP presidential nomination.

Such is the radicalism that now grips the party of Ronald Reagan and Dwight Eisenhower, neither of whom could likely win a primary election in this poisonous political climate.

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