The Senate killed the Blunt Amendment (strongly supported by NRLC) today for three simple reasons: (1) Democrats control the Senate; (2) all voting Republicans but one voted for the amendment, and (3) all but three Democrats voted against it.
But this is just an initial attempt to prevent the Obama Administration from forcing employers to provide health insurance that covers drugs or procedures to which they are morally opposed. There is more to come, starting with the Republican-controlled House, where the same legislation has 220 co-sponsor
Obama’s original mandate drew a loud chorus of opposition even from some who agreed with him but were nervous he was too blatant. His subsequent “accommodation” satisfied those who were looking for a fig-leaf to hide behind but no one else. As we’ve discussed repeatedly, Obama’s faux “compromise” represents a doubling down, having persuaded himself that he can morph an issue of religious liberty into a referendum on contraception.
With that in mind, the media narrative has to be that Republicans are (or will eventually) suffer because of their support for the Blunt Amendment, and/or that the party is divided. Thus, despite the fact that only one Republican voted against the Amendment, a Chicago Tribune reporter amazingly concluded that the “measure showed dissent among the GOP.”
In fact that unity in the face of unsparing media criticism is highly annoying to many reporters and commentators. For example, a Washington Post columnist earlier today insisted that any “centrist” Republican who votes in favor of the Blunt Amendment is obliged to forfeit her (or his) centrist credentials. It’s the familiar pro-abortion logic: anyone who disagrees with us is outside the mainstream.
National Right to Life President Carol Tobias put the onus exactly where it belongs this afternoon: “National Right to Life will continue to challenge the Obama Administration’s abortion-expansionist agenda on Capitol Hill, and we will encourage millions of like-minded Americans to remember this issue when they cast their ballots in November.”
Let’s be clear. It was not the pro-life community and/or the communities of faith who started this fight. It was Obama and his pro-abortion Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius who, having brazenly upset the status quo, shamelessly pretend it is opponents who are to blame.
After the vote, Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut, who chairs the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a statement. He said, “The need to defend citizens’ rights of conscience is the most critical issue before our country right now.”
He added, “We will continue our strong defense of conscience rights through all available legal means. Religious freedom is at the heart of democracy and rooted in the dignity of every human person. We will not rest until the protection of conscience rights is restored and the First Amendment is returned to its place of respect in the Bill of Rights.”
Obama and the Democrats will sing the same old song in an attempt to persuade opponents to buckle: that opposition to a mandate that requires religiously-affiliated universities, hospitals, and charities to pay for health insurance that covers sterilization and contraception is something only “extremists” or those who are “rigid” could support.
And they can keep harmonizing with much of the media. But as Mrs. Tobias suggests, when millions of Americans cast their ballots in November, they will remember this issue. And Mr. Obama will find he was way off key.
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