The U.S. Senate today tabled an effort to undo the damage done to religious freedom by the Obamacare contraception mandate. According to LifeNews:
The Senate voted today against an amendment to restore the religious liberty protections for employers who don’t want to be forced to pay for birth control or drugs that may cause abortions in their employee health plans.
Leading pro-life organizations called on the Senate to vote for the amendment to the mandate the Obama administration issued, but Democrats banded together against Republicans to defeat it on a 51 to 48 margin by adopting a motion to table, or kill, it.
The Blunt Amendment would prevent health care providers and insurers from being forced to violate their principles to offer services they are morally opposed to, and it guarantees that all Americans are not penalized or discriminated against for exercising their rights of conscience.
The text of the Blunt Amendment consists of the language taken from the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S. 1467, H.R. 1179). It would amend the Obama health care law (“ObamaCare”) to prevent the imposition of regulatory mandates that violate the religious or moral convictions of those who purchase or provide health insurance.
Yahoo News adds this note:
But Democrats said the amendment limits access to contraception and infringes on women’s rights at a time when Congress needs to focus on the economy and employment. “These aren’t the issues we should be debating right now,” Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet said on the Senate floor.
Bennett–and I’m guessing a lot of his colleagues–could use a refresher course in constitutional priorities. Last time I checked, the Constitution didn’t say anything about Congress jiggering the economy to produce higher employment. It does say that Congress–and by extension the executive who carries out the laws the Congress enacts–should keep its grubby paws off the religious liberties of Americans.
Here’s another way to think about it: most Americans are opposed to the contraception mandate. There’s an election coming up. What better time to debate the subject?
Oh, that’s right. Sen. Bennett is on the wrong end of that argument. Never mind.