WASHINGTON -- House Republicans aren't attaching a birth control provision to the latest version of their government-funding bill.
The so-called "conscience clause," which allows employers to opt out of providing health care services that they find morally or religiously objectionable, including birth control, was quietly rolled into the last funding bill that cleared the House. The provision was part of a broader one-year delay of Obamacare that Republicans attached to their bill. The Senate ultimately stripped the whole thing out though, and Republicans have refocused on adding in another anti-Obamacare provision -- a delay of the health care law's individual mandate -- that doesn't directly target contraception.
A House Republican leadership aide said the birth control language isn't in the latest bill because it was "an outgrowth of a one-year delay" of Obamacare, which is no longer part of the bill.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), however, said Republicans caved to pressure from women who were outraged that the provision ended up in the bill in the first place.
"Over the last 24 hours, women across America successfully stood up and spoke out against this shameful attack on women’s health. In e-mails, Tweets, and Facebook posts they emphatically told House Republicans that their ideological attempts to cut off access to health care has no place in their last minute political games," Murray said in a statement. "And thankfully, House Republicans quickly backed down."
The House and Senate have been sending versions of the government-funding bill back and forth for days. House Republicans keep adding in provisions to defund or delay Obamacare, and the Democratic-controlled Senate keeps stripping out those provisions and sending back a "clean" funding bill. If Congress doesn't do something before midnight on Monday, the government will shut down.