WASHINGTON — A bill that was drafted with the intent of reversing the recent Supreme Court decision in favor of Hobby Lobby and forcing corporations to provide abortion-inducing drugs to their employees has failed in the Senate.
As previously reported, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision last month that the federal government cannot force closely-held companies to obey regulations which violate the owners’ religious beliefs. The ruling was a victory for the Christian owners of Hobby Lobby, who objected to President Obama’s abortion pill mandate on the basis of their religious beliefs.
But to counter the decision, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced a bill the following week that would largely reverse the effects of last week’s Supreme Court ruling.
“After five justices decided last week that an employer’s personal views can interfere with women’s access to essential health services, we in Congress need to act quickly to right this wrong,” Murray said in a statement. “This bicameral legislation will ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between people and their guaranteed access to health care, period.”
The “Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act” presented several claims about the necessity that women obtain contraceptives, including that it keeps women in the workplace.
“In addition to providing health benefits for women, access to birth control has been directly connected to women’s economic success and ability to participate in society equally,” the bill read. “Women with access to birth control are more likely to have higher educational achievement and career achievement, and to be paid higher wages.”
Therefore, the bill sought to mandate all businesses to comply with the abortion pill coverage outlined in Obamacare.
“An employer that establishes or maintains a group health plan for its employees (and any covered dependents of such employees) shall not deny coverage of a specific health care item or service with respect to such employees (or dependents) where the coverage of such item or service is required under any provision of federal law or the regulations promulgated thereunder,” it required.
But on Wednesday, the United States Senate rejected Murray and Udall’s proposed bill, voting 56-43 against the Act. According to reports, the vote was largely along party lines, with Democrats failing to obtain the 60 votes needed to move the legislation forward.
Christian organizations applauded the outcome, stating that it is important that our nation fight for religious liberty.
“While the Senate rightfully rejected this unjust bill, today is a reminder of the need to stand vigilant in defense of our God-given freedoms against those who would seek to take them away,” stated Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Casey Mattox. “Echoing our Founding Fathers, Ronald Reagan once said that ‘freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.’ It has been 20 years—one generation—since Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and many of its sponsors have already turned their backs on our first freedom. We can be thankful for now that not enough of them did.”