Bill To Reverse Contraceptive Policy Defeated In Senate

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.


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.

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  • by Dano Location: CS on Mar 1, 2012 at 02:25 PM
    Good to see part of Congress has sense. Health coverage from employers should not be subject to the "moral objections" of the employer, regardless of the organization. If the church is against birth control, they need to have faith that their members will follow the tenets of their religion. Where's the faith in others?
  • by Kathy Location: Colorado Springs on Mar 1, 2012 at 11:27 AM
    In applauding the failure of this bill, you are missing the main point - the question of whether the government has the right to force people to violate their religious convictions. The founding fathers thought it important enough to make religious freedom the 1st amendment to the Constitution.
    • reply
      by hmm on Mar 1, 2012 at 12:14 PM in reply to Kathy
      Liberals can't grasp the constitution or bill of rights. Due to their ignorant self loathing of false guilt they seem to be ignorant that these documents exists and were written to keep Big government from existing.
    • reply
      by Dan'o on Mar 1, 2012 at 02:37 PM in reply to Kathy
      This is about treating all institutions and organizations the same. It is not up to an employer to decide what treatments an employee can access. It is up to each person to make decisions based on their beliefs, not the bosses. Excluding any employer based on the organizations beliefs goes against the freedom of and from religion our founders wanted.
    • reply
      by Richard on Mar 2, 2012 at 09:59 PM in reply to Kathy
      No ones' religious rights are being denied, offering medical treatment to include contraception would offer it to anyone who wants it and is only testing a persons' religious faith who has an issue with it. If one believes it's morally wrong then no is holding them down and forcing Birth Control pills down their throat. So what rights are being violated? None that I can see, unless you want to force your beliefs on everyone, then we have a serious issue. What a person wants to do with their body is their business and should be able to decide through their beliefs what is the best course of medical treatment to suit their needs.
  • by KE Location: Colorado Springs on Mar 1, 2012 at 10:20 AM
    Good - glad to see the amendment failed. As a woman that was put on birth control as a teen to address a medical issue it is no business of my employer what my doctor feels is the best course of treatment. If they are offering insurance the employer should not have the right to cherry-pick "acceptable" prescriptions.
    • reply
      by Anonymous on Mar 1, 2012 at 01:39 PM in reply to KE
      Agree. Proper medical care includes EVERYTHING a patient needs, and should never be subject to the subjective morals of another.
  • by Barb Location: COS on Mar 1, 2012 at 09:53 AM
    Score one for common sense. Now maybe we can get back to issues like how to actually help improve the economy.
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