Senate Democrats today lost their bid to approve legislation to “overturn” the Supreme Court’s decision protecting Hobby Lobby and other companies from being forced to comply with the HHS mandate that compels them to pay for abortion-causing drugs for their employees.
Republicans were able to sustain their filibuster against the bill and prevailed on a 56-43 vote, with Democrats voting to move to a vote on the pro-abortion bill and almost all Republicans uniting to vote against it.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Christian-run Hobby Lobby doesn’t have to obey the HHS mandate that is a part of Obamacare. The high court issued a favorable ruling in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., a landmark case addressing the Constitutionally guaranteed rights of business owners to operate their family companies without violating their deeply held religious convictions.
The court ruled that the contraception mandate violated the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, a 1993 law and it held that the mandate “substantially burdens the exercise of religion” and that HHS didn’t use the “least restrictive means” to promote this government interest, tests required by RFRA.
“HHS’s contraception mandate substantially burdens the exercise of religion,” the decision reads, adding that the “decision concerns only the contraceptive mandate and should not be understood to mean that all insurance mandates.” The opinion said the “plain terms of Religious Freedom Restoration Act” are “perfectly clear.”
The legislation Democrats wanted approved would change the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act in a way that would force companies to pay for birth control, contraception and those abortion-causing drugs.
Senators Mark Udall (D-Colo.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.), both abortion advocates, are behind the new legislation and they said, “The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act would ban employers from refusing to provide health coverage — including contraceptive coverage — guaranteed to their employees and dependents under federal law.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch said during a press conference that the bill is “not going anywhere.”
“This is the first time in American history that Congress will consider a bill intended to diminish the protection for the religious liberty of all Americans,” Hatch said. “It is part of a broader campaign to demonize religious freedom as the enemy, as an obstacle to certain political goals.”
Hatch said the ACA’s contraceptive mandate is “exactly the kind of situation that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was enacted to address, the kind of situation that should require government to justify why and how it wants to interfere with the exercise of religion.”
During the debate, Senator Roy Blunt, a pro-life Missouri Republican, debunked claims made by Senate Democrats.
Not one Senate Republican has signed on to the legislation, which pro-life groups strenuously oppose. House Republicans will not take up the bill, making it so the legislation will not reach President Barack Obama, an abortion advocate who would sign it into law.
In their ruling, the Supreme Court indicated Congress could change the law to require businesses t pay for the birth control and abortion drugs.
“There are other ways in which Congress or HHS could equally ensure that every woman has cost-free access to the particular contraceptives at issue here and, indeed, to all FDA-approved contraceptives,” the opinion concluded.
“The plain terms of RFRA make it perfectly clear that Congress did not discriminate in this way against men and women who wish to run their businesses as for-profit corporations in the manner required by their religious beliefs,” read the opinion.
Chief Justice John Roberts, Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Anthony Kennedy joined in the majority decision. Justices Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor dissented.
Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote a concurring opinion saying that government itself could provide the coverage for contraception and the abortion-causing drugs if a company declines to do so.
A new Rasmussen Reports poll shows Americans agree with the Supreme Court’s decision this week that the Christian-run Hobby Lobby doesn’t have to obey the HHS mandate that is a part of Obamacare that requires businesses to pay for abortion causing drugs in their employee health care plans.
“Half of voters agree with the U.S. Supreme Court that a business owner should be able to opt out of Obamacare’s contraceptive mandate if it violates his or her religious beliefs,” the poling firm reports about its new national survey.
A December 2013 Rasmussen Reports poll shows Americans disagree with forcing companies like Hobby Lobby to obey the mandate.
“Half of voters now oppose a government requirement that employers provide health insurance with free contraceptives for their female employees,” Rasmussen reports.
The poll found: “The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 38% of Likely U.S. Voters still believe businesses should be required by law to provide health insurance that covers all government-approved contraceptives for women without co-payments or other charges to the patient.
Fifty-one percent (51%) disagree and say employers should not be required to provide health insurance with this type of coverage. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.”
Another recent poll found 59 percent of Americans disagree with the mandate.