Senate Republicans Filibuster Hobby Lobby Reversal Away

Arit John
Senate Republicans Filibuster Hobby Lobby Reversal Away

As expected, Senate Republicans filibustered a bill that would have prevented employers from interfering in a woman's birth control coverage. The vote for cloture failed 56 to 43, according to the Associated Press, meaning the bill won't go forward for a yes or no vote. 

The Protect Women's Health From Corporate Interference Act would have reversed the Supreme Court's controversial Hobby Lobby ruling, which allows "closely held" for-profit religious organizations to opt-out of covering certain kinds of birth control if they have religious objections. As Sen. Mark Udall, the bill's co-sponsor, put it, it would "keep women's private health decisions out of corporate board rooms." 

Though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised another vote on the bill before the end of the year, this is a bill that was destined to fail. Democrats have tied the Hobby Lobby ruling to their midterm campaign, and a successful vote would have meant restoring women's full freedom to decide what birth control works for them. At the risk of furthering the "war on women" narrative, Republicans — who saw the Hobby Lobby ruling as a victory — weren't likely to do the left an election solid. 

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But that doesn't mean Republicans don't care. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and two other Republicans introduced a bill that would remind people that women can still buy their own contraceptives with their own money, and call for a Food and Drug Administration study to look into whether birth control can be sold over the counter, according to the Associated Press. Of course, that's small consolation to women who can't afford the blacklisted forms of birth control without insurance.

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