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Gazette Premium Content EDITORIAL: Udall wants bosses involved in personal lives of women

The Gazette editorial Published: July 12, 2014

Sen. Mark Udall has effectively played the moderate Democrat for the past six years. He knows representing the state isn't the same as representing his old liberal congressional district in Boulder. Today, the moderate facade is gone.

Udall, desperate to improve his numbers against popular and moderate Republican challenger Cory Gardner, is going to extremes on social issues mostly irrelevant to the times.

Udall cannot win on a platform of health care, the economy and jobs because he has wholeheartedly helped President Barack Obama impose every one of his economic policies. So the senior senator wants to talk abortion and birth control, each of which are readily available to every woman in this country and will remain that way regardless of who wins the Senate race. Republicans couldn't outlaw abortion if they wanted to, because the Supreme Court protects it. Republican candidates aren't talking about it.

But Udall apparently doesn't care about the Supreme Court's authority in regards to issues involving reproductive rights, at least when the court doesn't rule his way. He is co-sponsoring a bill to override the Supreme Court's decision last week in the Hobby Lobby Case, which merely said government cannot force owners of closely held companies to partially compensate employees with contraception.

As explained in a Gazette editorial last Sunday, the decision deprives no one of anything. The vast majority of contraceptives are so affordable - less than $20 each month - there is no legitimate need for insurance coverage. Nearly anyone who wants contraceptives can obtain them for no money or for free from nonprofits without involving the boss. They don't need to entangle their most personal reproductive choices with their jobs. The employer should have no connection with a woman's intimate personal life.

Somehow, in a weird and poorly executed game of semantics, Udall is trying to twist the disentanglement of birth control and job as just the opposite. He apparently wants women dependent on the boss for $8-a-month birth control pills but pretends the opposite is true.

"The U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives," Udall said. "Coloradans understand that women should never have to ask their bosses for a permission slip to access common forms of birth control or other critical health services."

The statement is absurd beyond compare. The unprecedented intrusion into private lives is the vote Udall cast in favor of a health care law that, for the first time in history, mandated a woman's birth control be in the hands of her boss. Without Udall's vote, and his heartfelt support for the Affordable Care Act, women would have never faced the prospect of obtaining birth control supplies from someone who can fire them on the spot. They would never have been put in such an inappropriate and vulnerable position by the federal government, which has no business forcing that type of employer/employee relationship on workers.

Udall, desperate to stay in office, knows the overused mantra that says suburban women decide our elections. His effort to exploit that demographic should sound insulting, even to those who most champion unfettered access contraceptives access. The market knows the cost of contraception and few believe consumers can't have access without the guiding hand of the corporation.

Sen. Udall, women are not stupid and are not of the misconception that some new government mandate is all that stands between them and unwanted pregnancies. They want a flourishing economy, based on economic freedom, that will create opportunities for themselves and their families. Stop trying to make this important election about abortion and birth control pills, which aren't endangered in the least. Women aren't this naive.

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