Blunt on Birth Control Defeat: 'Fight's Not Over'

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In what many conservatives consider a setback for the pro-life movement, Senate Democrats defeated a measure Thursday aimed at rolling back President Obama's policy on birth control coverage.

The "Respect for Rights of Conscience Act," sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., would have allowed employers to opt out of insurance coverage for services considered morally or religiously objectionable.

The actual vote was to table the amendment and because Democrats have the majority, they effectively managed to kill the bill by a vote of 51-48. 

The controversy over the measure centers on the president's health care law and whether religious employers should be forced to include birth control in health care plans they offer.

Last month, the administration came under fire after issuing a directive that would have required all employers, including religious organizations, to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees.

The only exemption made was for churches, but it did not apply to religious affiliated-institutions, like universities or hospitals.

Blunt proposed his amendment to correct what he sees as government overreach. Supporters of his amendment say the measure was designed to protect Americans' religious liberties.

But opponents said the measure was too broad and would potentially hurt millions seeking coverage.

Immediately following the vote, Senate Democrats took the microphones, claiming this was a win for women.

"This was an important step today and an important the message to the women - and to the men - in this country that we and the Democratic caucus will stand up to fight for their rights," Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., told reporters.

Meanwhile, Blunt's office issued a statement saying, "The fight is not over."

House Speaker John Boehner said House Republicans are working on a few different ideas that would protect the religious liberty of Americans from government overreach.

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