|00:00:01||MR. PRESIDENT, I RISE TO OBJECT TO THE BLUNT AMENDMENT.|
|00:00:06||I BELIEVE THIS AMENDMENT IS EXTREME, IT WOULD UNDERMINE THE DELICATE BALANCE BETWEEN RELIGIOUS FREEDOM AND A WOMAN'S HEALTH.|
|00:00:16||IT WOULD BE A MISTAKE.|
|00:00:18||IT GOES TOO FAR.|
|00:00:21||IT WOULD ALLOW ANY EMPLOYER TO PREVENT A WOMAN'S ACCESS TO MAMMOGRAMS, PRENATAL CARE OR EVEN VACCINATIONS OR EVEN ANY OTHER FORM OF PREVENTIVE CARE.|
|00:00:34||IN MONTANA, MY STATE, 62,000 WOMEN COULD LOSE ACCESS TO PREVENTIVE CARE.|
|00:00:40||I'M HERE TO SAY THAT IS WRONG, AND I'M GOING TO GO TO BAT FOR THEM.|
|00:00:45||I THINK A WOMAN SHOULD DECIDE FOR HERSELF, HER FAMILY, WHAT PREVENTIVE CARE MAKES THE MOST SENSE FOR HER.|
|00:00:55||AS AMERICANS, WE BELIEVE IN INDIVIDUAL LIBERTIES AND EQUAL ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE.|
|00:01:01||CURRENT POLICY UPHOLDS THOSE VALUES.|
|00:01:04||IT PRESERVES THE INTEGRITY OF A WOMAN'S FREEDOM AND THE RIGHT TO ACCESS ALL HEALTH CARE SERVICES.|
|00:01:11||IT PROTECTS THE RELIGIOUS LIBERTIES THAT SO MANY AMERICANS, INCLUDING MYSELF, VALUE.|
|00:01:15||AND THAT'S WHY BOTH FAITH-BASED AND HEALTH COMMUNITIES SUPPORT THIS POLICY.|
|00:01:23||NOT THE BLUNT AMENDMENT, BUT THE CURRENT POLICY.|
|00:01:25||THE BLUNT AMENDMENT WOULD OVERTURN THIS.|
|00:01:28||IT WOULD ALLOW ANY CORPORATION OR HEALTH PLAN TO DENY WOMEN AND THEIR FAMILIES ACCESS TO PREVENTIVE HEALTH CARE FOR ALMOST ANY REASON.|
|00:01:41||IT IS WRITTEN SO BROADLY, AN EMPLOYER OR INSURANCE COMPANY TO DENY ACCESS TO PREVENTIVE CARE FOR VIRTUALLY ANY REASON, AND THAT IS JUST NOT RIGHT.|
|00:01:50||SO I URGE MY COLLEAGUES TO VOTE AGAINST THE BLUNT AMENDMENT.|
|00:01:53||I URGE THEM TO PROTECT THE HEALTH OF ALL AMERICANS.|
|00:01:56||THAT INCLUDES OUR MOTHERS, WIVES, SISTERS, DAUGHTERS IN MONTANA AND ACROSS THE COUNTRY.|
|00:02:02||I MIGHT SAY IN MONTANA, WE'RE VERY PROUD TO HAVE SENT THE FIRST WOMAN TO CONGRESS, GENERAL NET RANK-- JEANETTE RANKIN IN 1916.|
|00:02:19||WE HAVE A STRONG TRADITION OF RESPECTING WOMEN.|
|00:02:24||WOMEN ARE NOT ONLY THE HEART OF OUR FAMILIES BUT ARE THE FABRIC OF OUR COMMUNITIES.|
|00:02:29||WE ARE SUPPORTING WOMEN'S HEALTH.|
|00:02:31||WE ARE SUPPORTING HEALTHY COMMUNITIES THAT CAN BE STRONG FOR OUR KIDS AND GRANDKIDS.|
|00:02:35||LET US UPHOLD OUR VALUES OF LIBERTY.|
|00:02:39||LET WOMEN CHOOSE FOR THEMSELVES INDIVIDUALLY.|
|00:02:41||IT IS THEIR RESPONSIBILITY WHAT HEALTH CARE THEY THINK MAKES THE MOST SENSE FOR THEM, AND LET'S TREAT ALL AMERICANS FAIRLY.|
|00:02:48||LET'S DEFEND AGAINST DISCRIMINATORY HEALTH CARE PRACTICES AND LET US DO SO WHILE PROTECTING EVERYONE'S FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS.|
|00:02:59||PRESIDENT, ON ANOTHER MATTER, I ASK TO SPEAK AS IF IN MORNING BUSINESS.|
Mr. BAUCUS. Mr. President, I rise to object to the Blunt amendment. I believe this amendment is extreme and it would undermine the delicate balance between religious freedom and a woman's health. It would be a mistake. It goes too far. It would allow any employer to prevent a woman's access to mammograms, prenatal care, even vaccinations or any other form of preventive care. In Montana, my State, 62,000 women could lose access to preventive care. I am here to say that is wrong, and I am going to go to bat for them. I think a woman should decide for herself and her family what preventive care makes the most sense for her.
As Americans, we believe in individual liberties and equal access to health care. Current policy upholds those values. It preserves the integrity of a woman's freedom and the right to access all health care services. It protects the religious liberties that so many Americans, including myself, value. And that is why both faith-based and health communities support this policy--not the Blunt amendment but the current policy. The Blunt amendment would overturn this. It would allow any corporation or health plan to deny women and their families access to preventive health care for almost any reason. It is written so broadly that an employer or an insurance company could deny access to preventive care for virtually any reason. That is not right.
I urge my colleagues to vote against 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 very proud to have sent the first woman to Congress--Ms. Jeannette Rankin--in 1916. We have a very strong tradition in our State of respecting women--women who are not only the hearts of our families but are also those providing the fabric of our communities. When we support women's health, we are supporting healthy communities that could be strong for our kids and our grandkids.
Let's uphold our values of liberty. Let women choose for themselves individually. It is their responsibility what preventive care they think makes the most sense for them. And let's treat all Americans fairly. Let's defend against discriminatory health insurance practices, and let's do so while protecting everyone's fundamental rights.
Mr. President, on another matter, I ask unanimous consent to speak as in morning business.