A bill which would have allowed employers and insurers to refuse to cover health care measures that they found morally objectionable has failed in the Senate.
The so-called Blunt Amendment, named for Republican sponsor Sen. Roy Blunt, was written as a response to the Affordable Care Act's policy on birth control, under which insurers of religious-affiliated organizations such as schools and hospitals are required to make preventative services such as contraceptives available to all female employees.
President Obama's original plan would have forced religious-affiliated organizations to foot the health care bill; after an uproar by conservatives and many in the religious community, Obama altered the plan to where religious-affiliated employers would not have to pay for an employee's contraceptive coverage. Their insurance company would, instead, have to provide birth control coverage to any employee that wanted it, and foot the bill.
The plan did little to placate Republicans, who said Obama's plan remained an assault on religious freedom; Democrats have fired back that Republicans are attempting to roll back women's rights.
The Blunt Amendment sought to not only reverse the policy completely, but took the issue beyond religious exemptions, allowing that any employer who found portions of the health care law objectionable on moral grounds, not just faith-based ones, could opt out. Health care could extend to anything, not just contraceptives. The bill was defeated Thursday 51-48.
A CBS poll has found that a majority of Americans (61 percent) favor Obama's contraceptive mandate, while only 31 percent oppose it.