Bellows Rallies for Women’s Health

Tuesday, March 25, 2014Press Release

Democratic Candidate for US Senate Shenna Bellows joined Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and other women’s groups for a rally outside of the US Supreme Court today to stand up for women’s access to birth control and highlight a difference between her and her opponent, Republican Susan Collins.

“The vast majority of American women support access to birth control, but politicians in Washington and a small group of powerful private corporations want to deny women insurance coverage for birth control.  It’s time to stop playing politics with women’s health,” said Bellows.  “We need stronger leadership on reproductive freedom in Washington.  That we’re debating birth control in this race and races all over the country in 2014 is very sad.  It’s even more disappointing that my opponent, Republican Susan Collins, who used to be moderate on women’s issues, would vote with right-wing extremists for cloture on a bill to limit birth control, and it shows how much ground we have lost.”  

At issue is the controversial Blunt Amendment vote in 2010.  During the debate around the Affordable Care Act, Republicans sought to allow employers the power to deny women access to contraception through health insurance.  While Republican Olympia Snowe voted against the amendment, Republican Susan Collins voted with the Republicans to advance the measure to let employers limit access to birth control.[1]  Fortunately, the measure was defeated.  However, employers including Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood sued to be able to tailor health insurance plans to their personal religious views and deny women birth control coverage.   The two cases are being heard by the US Supreme Court today.  A decision is expected later this spring.

“Women should be free to make our own decisions about when and whether to have a family without government intrusion into our private lives,” said Bellows.  “It’s time to get the government and employers out of these highly personal decisions about birth control.”

Bellows has been endorsed by Feminist Majority PAC and the National Organization for Women’s NOW PAC.  Bellows has received numerous awards for her work on women’s health and reproductive freedom from groups including University of Maine Women’s Studies Department, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center, the American Association of University Women, and the Frances Perkins Center.