WASHINGTON D.C. – U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR) today voted to restore conscience protections to President Obama’s healthcare law, but the Senate Majority
ultimately succeeded by a three-vote margin to allow the law’s religious
liberty violations to stand.
The Senate, by a 51-48 margin, voted to table the amendment Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) offered to amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to protect rights of
“Many longstanding federal health care conscience laws protect conscientious objections to certain types of medical services. President Obama could have just as easily followed that course when he issued this mandate, but he did not. The amendment that the Senate Majority tabled today would have corrected the President’s mistake and restored these conscience protections—the same protections that have existed for more than 220 years since the First Amendment was ratified—to this rule. As a result, thea dministration will continue to trample the conscience rights of Americans and religious institutions,” Boozman said after the vote.
One of the first mandates from the President’s healthcare law requires almost all private health insurance policies including those issued by religious institutions such as hospitals, non-profits and schools—to cover sterilizations, contraceptives and abortifacients no cost to policyholders. A modified version of the mandate will still require that this coverage be offered to employees at faith-based institutions—including church-run hospitals, non-profits and schools—but pushes the costs on to insurance companies, who would likely recoup the costs from the very institutions the President’s “compromise” seeks to protect.
Yesterday, Boozman spoke on Senate floor to debate the necessity Senator Roy Blunt’s amendment (Watch Senator Boozman’s floor speech during the debate on the Blunt Amendment).
“You don’t ‘accommodate’ religious liberties, you respect them. That’s why they are enshrined in the Constitution. Those Constitutional protections should prevent the President from trampling the conscience rights of Americans and religious institutions who hold a strong belief that contraceptives, sterilizations and medicines that cause abortions are wrong. Clearly, however, these Constitutional protections are not enough,” Boozman said during his speech.
Boozman called Senator Blunt’s amendment “commendable,” adding that “it simply asks the President to respect the religious liberties of Americans.”