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March 01. 2012 11:16PM

NH senators split on vote over contraception

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte Thursday split their votes on a controversial contraceptive proposal that died in a mostly party-line vote.

The Senate voted 51-48 to table an amendment proposed by U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., that would have allowed employers with moral objections to opt out of a requirement that worker health plans include coverage of contraceptives. The amendment would also have allowed employers to refuse to cover any procedures required under the administration’s rule if they had a religious or moral objection.

Blunt tried to attach the amendment to a highway funding bill, but by tabling the measure, the Senate effectively killed it.

Shaheen, a Democrat who voted with the majority to kill the proposal, said, “This was a dangerous and politically motivated proposal, and I’m glad the Senate has rejected it. It would have undermined health care for women and families across the nation, putting employers and insurance companies between patients and their doctors. It’s time for Congress to turn its attention back to the economy and pass this transportation bill so we can invest in our nation’s infrastructure and put Americans back to work.”

Ayotte, a Republican who voted in favor of the Blunt amendment, said, “This is a simple matter of religious freedom. Respect for rights of conscience has historically been a bipartisan issue, and it was unfortunate that Democrats resorted to misinformation in their attempts to defeat the measure. This debate highlights the need to protect religious organizations from federal overreach, and I will keep standing up for religious liberty as I work to repeal the President’s health care law.”


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