U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill., pictured) is pleased that his fellow senators defeated legislation that would have given employers the right to exclude contraception from their health care plans based on their moral beliefs. The Senate Thursday defeated Republican efforts to roll back the president’s policy on contraception insurance coverage. The measure sponsored, by U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and would have allowed employers and insurers to opt out of portions of the Affordable Care Act they found morally objectionable.
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That would have included the law's requirement that insurers cover the costs of birth control. Durbin says he recognizes that a certain separation of church and state must be maintained, but the Blunt Amendment went too far. “Imagine [an employer] whose moral beliefs, religious beliefs said well there shouldn’t be any treatment, the person should pray their way through this. Where does that leave the employee?” Durbin said. Durbin says the Obama administration plan now sticks and it gives institutions one year to work out any questions. “I hope and I believe the administration will be reasonable in dealing with requests of employers, keeping in mind we have to protect the right of individuals to seek medical care that we think is essential for their well-being,” Durbin said.
Under the administration’s plan, which it characterizes as a compromise, the insurance companies would cover the cost of birth control if a religious-run institution had moral problems with covering the cost. Republicans argued that he Blunt Amendment was a matter of freedom of religion, while Democrats said it was an assault on women's rights and could be used to cancel virtually any part of the law..