Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set up the first procedural vote on a bill that would reverse the recent Supreme Court ruling that allows some employers to deny birth control coverage for women.
“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,” Sen. Patty MurrayPatty MurrayOvernight Healthcare: Medicare fight looms on Capitol Hill Senate GOP hardening stance against emergency funding for Zika Overnight Healthcare: More trouble for Zika funding MORE (D-Wash.) said while introducing the bill last week.
Democrats have pounced on the issue ahead of the November elections in order to draw contrast between the two parties on the issue.
“The U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives,” said Sen. Mark UdallMark UdallEnergy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium Two vulnerable senators lack challengers for 2016 MORE (D-Colo.), a lead co-sponsor of the bill. “My common-sense proposal will keep women's private health decisions out of corporate board rooms, because your boss shouldn't be able to dictate what is best for you and your family.”
Senate Democrats will need at least five Republicans to join them in voting to end debate on the motion to proceed to S. 2578, but it seems unlikely they will get that support. That vote is expected Wednesday.
Republicans have accused Democrats of attacking the First Amendment, which grants religious freedoms. Under ObamaCare, churches are not forced to provide healthcare that includes contraceptive coverage.
Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft stores, is owned by conservative Christians who argued that the employer mandate to provide basic healthcare options forced them to violate their religious principles.