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Published On: Thu, Jul 24th, 2014

Hobby Lobby, Obamacare battle continues, new bill in Senate stalls

A bipartisan attempt to overturn the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision has failed in the Senate, but the battle may be far from over.
 
The Senate on Wednesday afternoon fell short of the 60 votes needed to move forward with the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act, in a 56-43 vote on bringing the measure to the floor.
 
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The bill would have overruled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)—the law the Supreme Court cited when it ruled the federal government cannot force a family-owned business to provide contraceptive coverage that goes against its religious beliefs.

 
The bill also would have required employers to cover all forms of contraception and other healthcare mandated in the Affordable Care Act, regardless of conscience objections.
 
“The federal government doesn’t have the right to force Americans to violate their faith,” said Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., who voted against bringing the measure to the floor for consideration. “The bill put forward by Senate Democrats is nothing more than a political charade, designed to falsely suggest to the American people that employers can deny their employees access to birth control.”
 
Susan Collins, R-Maine, Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska., joined 51 Democrats and two independents to try to move the legislation forward. For procedural reasons, just before the vote closed, Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., changed his vote, which leaves the door open for reconsidering the bill at a later date.
 
Supporters cast the legislation as a “fix” for the ruling they said ran counter to the original intent of RFRA, which received overwhelming bipartisan support and was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
 
“The court’s decision in Hobby Lobby was an unprecedented move allowing employers to use their religious beliefs to deny their employees a benefit that they are guaranteed by federal law to receive,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberty Union’s Washington legislative office. “A small number of senators chose politics over women’s health today.”
 
Republicans have introduced legislation that would “clarify” the high court’s decision, noting it didn’t prevent anyone from accessing any kind of birth control, including abortifacient drugs—despite Democratic claims.
 
Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Colo., Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., and Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., have introduced companion legislation in the House, but it is expected to go nowhere in the Republican-controlled chamber.
 
“Senate Democrats and a few wayward Republicans just voted against religious freedom for their constituents and all Americans,” said Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of Women Speak Out PAC, a partner of the Susan B. Anthony List. “This bill would pave the way for taxpayer funding of almost all abortions as ‘preventive services.’”
 
Democrats, who also call the bill the “Not My Boss’ Business Act,” hope to turn the Hobby Lobby decision into a campaign issue in the midterm elections, furthering their “war on women” narrative against the GOP.
 
 

About the Author

- Writer and Co-Founder of The Global Dispatch, Brandon has been covering news, offering commentary for years, beginning professional in 2008 on sites like Examiner and blogs: Desk of Brian, Crazed Fanboy. Appearing on several radio shows, Brandon has hosted Dispatch Radio, written his first novel (The Rise of the Templar) will be a licensed Assembly of God Pastor by the Spring of 2017. "Why do we do this?" I was asked and the answer is simple. "I just want the truth. I want a source of information that tells me what's going and clearly attempts to separate opinion from fact. Set aside left and right, old and young, just point to the world and say, 'Look!'" To Contact Brandon email [email protected] ATTN: BRANDON

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  1. Hobby Lobby, Obamacare battle continues, new bill in Senate stalls says:

    […] Hobby Lobby, Obamacare battle continues, new bill in Senate stalls The bill would have overruled the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)—the law the Supreme Court cited when it ruled the federal government cannot force a family-owned business to provide contraceptive coverage that goes against its religious … Read more on The Global Dispatch […]

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