Senate Democrats Vote Against Conscience Protections From HHS Mandate

National   Steven Ertelt   Mar 22, 2013   |   5:01PM    Washington, DC

Senate Democrats voted on Friday against an amendment from pro-life Senator Deb Fischer of Nebraska to the budget that would offer Americans conscience protections from the controversial HHS mandate.

The amendment would establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund to protect women’s access to health care, including primary and preventive care, but in a manner consistent with protecting rights of conscience.

Earlier in the day, Senate Democrats voted today on a mostly party-line vote to reaffirm the controversial HHS mandate, that compels religious groups to pay for birth control and abortion-causing drugs despite their religious or moral objections. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a pro-abortion Democrat from New Hampshire, filed an amendment to reaffirm the HHS mandate authorized under the Obamacare health care law. That amendment passed on a 56-43 vote.

Maureen Ferguson, Senior Policy Advisor with The Catholic Association, decried the vote in comments to LifeNews.

“The Senate today voted against the 1st Amendment and religious freedom in a vote forcing Americans to pay for abortion products in their health care plans,” she said. “People of faith should not be forced to buy health plans that include products that so flagrantly conflict with their religious faith.  They should be allowed the choice to buy plans that do not offer products that conflict with their deeply held religious beliefs.”

She said Senate Democrats “ran roughshod over the 1st Amendment and a corner stone principle of American freedom — religious liberty. We applaud the efforts of Senator Deb Fischer to protect religious liberty.”

The Senate has shown it cares less about the conscience rights of small business owners and charity workers than the cash reserves of big corporations,” added Ashley McGuire, Senior Fellow with The Catholic Association. “The Senate has shown it cares less about the conscience rights of small business owners and charity workers than the cash reserves of big corporations. Shame on those senators who care more about protecting the financial interests of corporations than the constitutional rights of their citizens. This is pandering to rich people with one hand while crumpling the Constitution with the other.”

Polling routinely shows that more than 60 percent of Americans oppose the use of taxpayer dollars for abortion. Polling also shows that 77 percent of Americans believe it is important that health care professionals not be forced to participate in procedures or practices to which they have moral objections.

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The vote appears below. A Yes vote is the pro-life vote.

YEAs —44
Alexander (R-TN)
Ayotte (R-NH)
Barrasso (R-WY)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
Cruz (R-TX)
Enzi (R-WY)
Fischer (R-NE)
Flake (R-AZ)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (R-WI)
Lee (R-UT)
Manchin (D-WV)
McCain (R-AZ)
McConnell (R-KY)
Moran (R-KS)
Paul (R-KY)
Portman (R-OH)
Pryor (D-AR)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rubio (R-FL)
Scott (R-SC)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Toomey (R-PA)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)
NAYs —55
Baldwin (D-WI)
Baucus (D-MT)
Begich (D-AK)
Bennet (D-CO)
Blumenthal (D-CT)
Boxer (D-CA)
Brown (D-OH)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Cardin (D-MD)
Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA)
Collins (R-ME)
Coons (D-DE)
Cowan (D-MA)
Donnelly (D-IN)
Durbin (D-IL)
Feinstein (D-CA)
Franken (D-MN)
Gillibrand (D-NY)
Hagan (D-NC)
Harkin (D-IA)
Heinrich (D-NM)
Heitkamp (D-ND)
Hirono (D-HI)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kaine (D-VA)
King (I-ME)
Kirk (R-IL)
Klobuchar (D-MN)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Leahy (D-VT)
Levin (D-MI)
McCaskill (D-MO)
Menendez (D-NJ)
Merkley (D-OR)
Mikulski (D-MD)
Murkowski (R-AK)
Murphy (D-CT)
Murray (D-WA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Reed (D-RI)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sanders (I-VT)
Schatz (D-HI)
Schumer (D-NY)
Shaheen (D-NH)
Stabenow (D-MI)
Tester (D-MT)
Udall (D-CO)
Udall (D-NM)
Warner (D-VA)
Warren (D-MA)
Whitehouse (D-RI)
Wyden (D-OR)
Not Voting – 1
Lautenberg (D-NJ)