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Blunt Amendment

5 Reasons to Be Glad the Respect For Rights of Conscience Act Failed

Meet Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri. The Senate just narrowly voted 51 to 48 against his amendment, called the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, or the Blunt amendment. The proposed law was a response to the Obama Administration's rule that all insurance plans provide free birth control, and would have let any employer opt out of providing health care coverage that violated their conscience or religion. Here are five reasons to be happy it's not the law, for the time being.

  1. It didn't just apply to religious and religion-sponsored organizations. While Senator Blunt framed it as a question of religious liberty, the bill would have let any employer impose their religious views on their employees.
  2. It allowed employers to opt out of any type of health care coverage they object to. For example, if having a child out of wedlock violated an employer's conscience or religion, they could deny coverage for it. Other examples: an employer could refuse fertility treatment for gay or single women.
  3. It would give your employer, not your doctor, control over your medical decisions.
  4. Supporters of the amendment aren't considering women's point of views. If you saw the recent panel convened by Congressman Darrell Issa to discuss religious liberty and contraception, you know that it had no women on it.
  5. It could be life threatening. All hospitals, for example, would have free range to deny a woman an emergency abortion if her life was threatened.

Even GOP candidate Mitt Romney opposed it, at least briefly. He said yesterday, "I'm not for the bill, but look, the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception within a relationship between a man and a woman, husband and wife, I'm not going there." Of course, then he walked back on that answer, saying he didn't understand the question and supports the bill. While the Blunt amendment is gone for now, we can probably expect more debates over social issues and women's health as the presidential election draws nearer.

Image Source: Getty
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lizlee89 lizlee89 5 years
Oh my goodness, I am so sick of this. It doesn't matter what our contry was founded on or what the infallible document upon which all our laws are based says, if the liberal left doesn't like it, it must be wrong. You just ignore all the facts and jump right into emotional retorts about how liberals care and coservatives are evil. I'll play along, though, because I'm sick of the corrupt, biased, liberal media not allowing any voice for the other side.   pallatina; I don't even know how to correct you because you completely contradicted yourself. I'll go through each of your ignorant generalizations one by one.   1. "Congress shall make no law...prohibiting the free exercise [of religion]" means that Congress cannot make a law that forces a religious organization to do anything that violates its ethics or tenents. Since Catholicism teaches that using any kind of artificial contraceptive is sinful, requiring a Catholic employer to pay for medical insurance that offers abortion, sterilization, or other contraceptives is unconstitutional.   2. Whether you "pop a pill" is none of my business as long as I don't have to pay for it. The Respect for Rights of Conscience Act does not prohibit non-religious institutions from providing contraceptives or anyone going to a free clinic, it simply requires that any religious institution's Constitutional right to not do anything that violates its teachings not be infringed upon. DOING SO IS ILLEGAL.   3. The Obama administration did not "compromise" on anything; it just changed the language so that ignorant liberals like you (and I'm sure, many ignorant conservatives) would be tricked into believing he is not infringing on their Constitutional rights. By forcing religious orgnaizations to pay for insurance that covers immoral ( at leats, in their eyes) procedures, he is still doing exactly that. Let's think about it this way, is it any different to give money to a store or corporation that uses child labor than it is to give money directly to the factory using those child workers?   4. I never said that contraception is unconstitutional. It is perfectly legal for a free clinic to provide it or for a non-religious company to pay for insurance that offers it. However, it is completely, blatantly, illegally INFRINGING ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT of every citizen to force anyone to do anything that is against his or her religion. This includes a church, a religious hospital, a mosque, a religious school, a temple, or any other religious entity.   5. If you don't realize that Barack Obama is a power-hungry, manipulative socialist who wishes that he could take control of every single facet of the United States, I worry about how naive you are. Obama has already enacted measures to try to take over the medical care system (which is also unconstitutional; the Constitution clearly states that the government cannot force any citizen to have medical insurance), he's constantly trying to gain more control of education, and now he's trying to eliminate all religious liberty. HOW IS THAT ANY DIFFERENT FROM WHAT A DICTATOR DOES? The only thing that will save us from him becoming Castro is the good old Constitution which does not allow a President to serve more than two terms. Yay for George Washington being humble and not being power-hungry enough to step down!   6. Who said anything about Santorum? I'm not voting for him or any of the other present Republican candidates.   7. Wow, you liberals are so hip - you eat sushi while we conservatives eat...uhhh...(what ignorant generalization do you have for what conservatives eat?)! This was my favorite part of your argument.   Well, I think that about does it - I'm not arguing religion or even party politics; I'm just demanding like any good citizen ought to that everybody's Constitutional rights be respected. After all, "whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness." This is from the Declaration of Independence by the way; just in case you're too ignorant to realize...      
pallatini pallatini 5 years
 @lizlee89 Now this gets weirder by the minute - so you are saying that just because the constitution does not state explicitly that contraception is to be covered by health insurance it is unconstitutional?  How about hip replacements, or diabetes drugs, contact lenses?  Are they constitutional because they don't violate your specific flavor of religion?  Or are they unconstitutional, too, because the First amendment does specifically mention them?    It always leaves me (almost) speechless how many religious people trample on the rights of others while simultaneously whining about being persecuted.  But why am I arguing with you?  It is wasted time anyway, somebody who is seriously claiming that Obama want to run this country as a dictator has no clue, doesn't listen to arguments and would (and here I am making an assumption) gladly welcome a dictator Santorum-style who would enforce drakonian religious rules on everybody.  Brave new world. And now I am going back to my Left Coast, Sushi-eating, New York Times reading, Chardonnay sipping ways and will gladly admit to being a bleeding-heart liberal - at least I have a heart.
pallatini pallatini 5 years
Curious how you would think that the following words "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..." would convey the right to enforce anybody's extremist religious views on others.  If you think that contraception is somehow evil, I can't force you to take it.  On the same token, whether I pop the pill is none of your damn business.  the Obama administration found a good compromise in requiring insurances to cover the cost of birth control and it will be a hard argument to make that insurance companies are religious organizations.  This guy Blunt is taking it to the extreme by proposing to let any (see above) employer out of paying birth control, so now its down to money, not morals.  I can't image the uproar if somebody would suggest not to cover prostate exams because it violates their religious believes.  Could be fun to try it out ....
lizlee89 lizlee89 5 years
While the things you are saying are true, Obama's rule that all employers must provide insurance that covers contraceptive measures is UNCONSTITUTIONAL. There is no Constitutional right to medical insurance, contraceptives, abortion, or woman's "reproductive rights."However, the Constitution does prohibit the government from infringing on religious organizations. In fact, it's the first ammendment! so it doesn't matter what the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act might affect because Obama's rule is UNCONSTITUTIONAL.   Now, if everyobody wants to force Muslim doctors to use pig parts for procedures and Jewish people to go to school and work on Jewish holidays and violate everyone's Constitutional rights, we can just throw the whole thing away (let's face it, that's exactly what Obama wants to do so he can take over our country as a dictator).   Finally, any procedure that the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act might allow religious employees to opt out of providing can be acquired at any one of a million free clinics. Or, any woman (or man) who doesn't want to respect the Constitutional right to religious liberty can always work for someone else. There's is no Constitutional restriction to where one works...
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