US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Blunt amendment voted down in Senate

Liz Lefebvre | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The Senate today voted 51-48 against a proposal that would have allowed any employer to opt out of providing health care coverage that they find morally disagreeable.

The vote was mainly along party lines, with one Republican voting against the proposal and three Democrats voting for it.

Many of the Democrats who voted against the bill said the proposal went much beyond the spectrum of contraception and would have allowed employers to opt out of covering any kind of medical treatment that it had moral objections to.

Said Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services: "The Obama administration believes that decisions about medical care should be made by a woman and her doctor, not a woman and her boss."

Frustrating about the whole process is that the bill was tacked on to a $109 billion transportation bill that is backed by both parties, meaning that action has now stalled on this bill that is not related in any way to contraception or religious freedom that had support from both of our country's widely polarized political parties. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid allowed the amendment to move forward after it became clear that Republicans would not let the transportation bill progress without including Senator Blunt’s amendment.

I feel safe in saying that we haven’t heard the end of the contraception debate, especially as the US bishops have vowed that they won’t rest until the entire mandate is repealed, saying in a February 10 statement that “The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.” Hopefully it can continue to be debated without coming at the expense of other important pieces of legislation.