GOP adds antiabortion measure in march to shutdown

Doomed bill, purportedly to address the economy, includes GOP's last-minute, agenda-drenched "conscience clause"

By Natasha Lennard

Published September 29, 2013 10:58AM (EDT)

John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Michele Bachmann                                                                   (AP/Susan Walsh/Reuters/Jonathan Ernst/Joshua Lott)
John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Michele Bachmann (AP/Susan Walsh/Reuters/Jonathan Ernst/Joshua Lott)

In their late night vote Saturday, the GOP not only made the first government shutdown in 17 years a looming likelihood, they voted to delay Obamacare for a year and slipped in a so-called "conscience clause" -- in short, a social agenda-fueled strike at insurance for birth control.

The provision would allow employers and insurers to opt out of providing health care services that they find morally or religiously objectionable for the next year.

Decried by pro-choice groups Sunday morning (Planned Parenthood called the provision "desperate, misguided, and extreme"), a number of Democratic Congress members didn't even know it had been included in the bill. HuffPo reported:

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) didn't know Republicans had added the provision into the bill, even as the House was already debating the rule for bringing it up.

"They did?" Becerra asked, during a Saturday night interview with The Huffington Post. "What part of their social agenda will they not stick into a budget bill?"

The GOP's latest move in the war on women is, however, pure kabuki. The bill -- containing a one-year delay on Obamacare -- is almost sure to fail in the Senate.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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