February 27, 2012 Print

Senate Prepares to Vote on Religious Protections Bill

by CitizenLink Team

The U.S. Senate will likely vote this week on an amendment to protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of employers who object to offering possible abortifacient drugs in employee health plans.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., introduced the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S.1467) last August, and recently offered the bill as an amendment to transportation legislation being debated this week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had previously blocked the amendment from getting a vote.

The Blunt amendment would exempt objecting employers from new regulations issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services requiring them to offer free contraception in their insurance plans. Some contraceptive drugs, like Plan B and ella, may cause early abortions. Some employers, particularly religious ones, say they shouldn’t have to offer such drugs.

“(This debate) is not about contraception. It’s about the Constitution,” Blunt wrote in an opinion piece published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Sunday. “It’s about faith and who controls the religious views of faith-based institutions.”

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