Disappointing, but definitely not surprising in a Democrat-controlled, Harry Reid-led Senate.
An amendment to ensure that a religious exemption would be included in the federal health care overhaul was killed by a narrow margin in the U.S. Senate on March 1.
Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), who introduced the amendment, said that he was “truly disappointed” with the vote and vowed that he would continue working to defend religious freedom.
“This fight is not over,” he stated.
“The need to defend citizens’ rights of conscience is the most critical issue before our country right now,” said Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., who heads the U.S. Catholic bishops’ religious liberty committee.
He vowed to continue working to “build on this base of support” and defend conscience rights “through all available legal means.”
The Senate voted 51-48 to “table” the proposed amendment, effectively killing it by preventing an up-or-down vote on the amendment itself. The move was made possible by the vote of multiple Catholic Democrats to defeat the legislation.
The discussion and vote came only after overcoming Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) procedural attempt to block the Blunt amendment, which he called “senseless.”
The proposed amendment would have allowed health care providers to opt out of providing coverage that violates their “religious beliefs or moral convictions.”