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Democrats Push Bill to Begin Overriding SCOTUS Contraception Decision

After the Supreme Court recently ruled that companies like Hobby Lobby don’t have to comply with an HHS (Health and Human Services) mandate that would compel the company to pay for abortion-causing drugs for their employees, Senate Democrats are pushing a bill that would override this ruling:

Now, Senate Democrats want to 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.”

“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. “This bicameral legislation will ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between people and their guaranteed access to health care, period. I hope Republicans will join us to revoke this court-issued license to discriminate and return the right of Americans to make their own decisions, about their own health care and their own bodies.”

Likely GOP response:

Not one Senate Republican has signed on to the legislation, which pro-life groups will undoubtedly 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.

However, it appears that the proposed legislation would not be a complete overturning of current federal law:

In its 5-to-4 decision last week, the Supreme Court said that a federal rule requiring many employers to provide contraceptive coverage for female employees was unlawful because it violated a 1993 law, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

That law says that the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” unless the burden is “the least restrictive means” to advance “a compelling governmental interest.”

The court said that a family-owned for-profit corporation may engage, like an individual, in “the exercise of religion.”

Ms. Murray’s bill criticizes the court’s majority opinion and declares that “employers may not discriminate against their female employees” in the coverage of preventive health services.

To this end, it says that an employer “shall not deny coverage of a specific health care item or service” where coverage is required under any provision of federal law. This requirement, it says, shall apply to employers notwithstanding the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

The bill does not amend that law. It explicitly preserves federal rules that provide an exemption for churches and other houses of worship that have religious objections to providing coverage for some or all contraceptives.

The bill also preserves an accommodation devised by President Obama for nonprofit religious organizations, like colleges, hospitals and charities, that have religious objections.

Representative Diana DeGette, Democrat of Colorado and a co-author of the House version, said: “Our main concern is making sure that women are not denied contraceptives while we sit around trying to figure out what to do. The bill is an interim solution, to make sure women can get birth control while we look at broader issues, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

At least the Legislative branch is doing its job. If you disagree with something the Judiciary just did, then propose a change to the specific law in question and see if a majority of American citizens agree.

That’s how a constitutional republic is supposed to work.

Of course, based on current statistics as noted in the above-referenced posting, the Democrat-proposed bill is likely dead on arrival in the House. Then again, it is likely that the recent hub-bub by abortion advocates and their allies was merely meant to drum up support for such a legislative change.

Maybe one day those of us on the right will deploy similar marketing tactics for our particular hot-button issues to achieve movement in society 🙂

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