Bill to undo Hobby Lobby ruling stalls in U.S. Senate

A Democratic push to nullify the recent ruling in the Hobby Lobby case stalled in the U.S. Senate Wednesday.

A vote to move forward with debate on the bill, dubbed the “Not My Boss’ Business Act” by proponents, failed 56 to 43, according to the Associated Press.

It takes 60 votes to override a filibuster, and, typically in the Senate, it takes 60 votes to move forward with anything.

The bill was put forward in response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The court ruled that closely held corporations couldn’t be compelled to offer birth control insurance coverage to their employees, if the birth control violated the company owners deeply held religious beliefs.

Hobby Lobby has a store in Newnan.

The bill would have prevented companies from using a religious-freedom law to avoid complying with the current requirement to cover certain approved forms of contraception with a copayment.

Republican senators called Wednesday’s vote a stunt designed to boost vulnerable Democratic incumbents in the November election, according to the AP.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said Republicans were the ones “out of touch with reality,” and promised that Democrats would continue to press the issue.

Republicans can gain control of the Senate by winning six additional seats in the November election.

The bill is likely to come back before the Senate between now and November.

Three Republicans voted in favor of the bill. Reid switched his vote to no, allowing him to bring the measure up for another vote, according to AP. All other Democrats voted in favor.

"The issue in Hobby Lobby is not whether women can purchase birth control, it's who pays for what," said Sen. Deb Fischer, R-Neb., in remarks on the Senate floor. "Those of us who believe that life begins at conception have moral objections to devices or procedures that destroy fertilized embryos.”

There is another bill, backed by some Republicans, that would reaffirm current law on access to contraception and in calling for a Food and Drug Administration study on whether contraceptives could be sold over the counter without a prescription, according to AP.

The affordable care act requires insurance companies to provide 20 types of birth control without copays.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.



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