- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen introduced a bill Wednesday that would make sure women in the U.S. military can obtain FDA-approved forms of birth control without an insurance co-pay.

The bill also would require the Department of Defense to implement family-planning counseling for servicewomen, according to the New Hampshire Democrat’s office.

“Female service members deserve access to the same basic health care as the women they protect and it’s unacceptable that they don’t,” Mrs. Shaheen said. “Giving women in the military access to basic preventative health care, including contraception and family planning counseling, will strengthen our military as a whole.”

The bill has picked up 15 co-sponsors, all of them Democrats.

It is Congress’ latest foray into the birth-control debate in the wake of the Supreme Court’s “Hobby Lobby” ruling, which held that corporations did not have to insure contraceptives they object to on moral grounds, even though an Obamacare rule required them to.

**FILE** Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire Democrat (Associated Press)
**FILE** Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire Democrat (Associated Press) more >

An attempt to reverse the ruling was turned back by Senate Republicans, so Democrats have looked to other proposals to keep the issue in the spotlight.

Democrats feel the contraception issue is an election-year winner that plays into their narrative of the “war on women” and economic equality.

Senate Republicans have offered their own proposal to affirm that no employer can deny a woman access to contraceptives and to explore whether birth control can be sold over-the-counter.