Religious freedom gets a Senate vote
GradeGov membership as of March 1 DEM/INDEP=44% GOP=55%
The United States Senate will be voting on Thursday around 11AM on an amendment offered by Senator Blunt (R-MO) that restores conscience protections that existed before President Obama's health care law - the same protections that have been a part of our law for almost 40 years and preserves the fundamental religious freedom that Americans have enjoyed for more than 220 years since the First Amendment to our Constitution was ratified.
Read this language and see if this offends you in any way. Here goes: "A health care provider or a health facility shall not be required to provide an item or service under a group health plan or health insurance coverage if the provider or facility objects to doing so on the basis of a religious belief or moral conviction." If this sounds pretty fair to you then you probably wouldn't have any problem with the almost identical language. It goes like this:
"Nothing in this amendment shall be construed to require an individual or institutional health care provider, or authorize a health plan to require a provider, to provide, participate in, or refer for a specific item or service contrary to the provider's religious beliefs or moral convictions."
The language you first read was the language that was included in Sen. Kennedy's (D-MA) Patients' bill of Rights, S. 1891 when it was introduced in 1998, the 105th Congress.
The second language you read was the language that the Senate will be voting on Thursday AM. This is the so-called Blunt amendment which has been demonized by many democratic Senators as an amendment that will take away basic rights of women to obtain contraceptives. The Blunt amendment is trying to affirm the basic right of religious freedom according to the Senate Republican Leader, Sen. McConnell (R-KY). The link is here:
Stay tuned to see how the vote turns out after tomorrow.