Supporters of Hobby Lobby 's fight for religious freedom rejoice as senate Republicans blocked Democrats' effort to undermine the company's decision concerning contraception coverage.
On Wednesday, a bill that would have required all for-profit employers to include the full range of contraceptives in their health insurance plans was defeated 56-43 on a procedural vote, the NY Times reports.
Christian organizations applauded the outcome, acknowledges that it is important for the U.S. to fight for religious freedom.
"While the Senate rightfully rejected this unjust bill, today is a reminder of the need to stand vigilant in defense of our God-given freedoms against those who would seek to take them away," stated Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Casey Mattox to the Associated Press. "Echoing our Founding Fathers, Ronald Reagan once said that 'freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction.' It has been 20 years-one generation-since Congress passed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and many of its sponsors have already turned their backs on our first freedom. We can be thankful for now that not enough of them did."
According to the Washington Post, both parties attempted to appeal to women throughout the debate, as their support is expected to be crucial in the midterm elections, when turnout tends to be low. In response to the Democratic proposal, Republicans introduced their own legislation in part to make a political point, pointing out that under current law employers can't prohibit a woman from accessing contraception.
"It's important that American women understand that you can be for supporting people's religious freedom and also support women's access to contraception," said Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire.
"This is a clear, strategic move to not cede the ground to Democrats, who are trying to attract female voters in November," agreed Ron Bonjean, co-founder of Singer Bonjean Strategies and a former senior Senate Republican staffer. "The last cycle the Republicans pretty much lost the so-called 'war on women.' "
Last month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that the federal government cannot force closely-held companies such as Hobby Lobby to obey regulations which violate the owners' religious beliefs. The judge's decision was a massive victory for the Evangelical Christian craft store, who objected to President Obama's abortion pill mandate on the basis of their religious beliefs.
Hobby Lobby, which was founded by the Oklahoma-based Green family, is a $3 billion company in which its religious beliefs infuse every aspect of the business, from the music played in its stores to being closed on Sundays.
Following the court's ruling, the Green family explained their position on the issue of contraceptives.
"We believe that the principles that are taught scripturally is what we should operate our lives by ... and so we cannot be a part of taking life," Hobby Lobby president Steve Green told NPR.
"It's our rights that are being infringed upon to require us to do something against our conscience," added CEO and founder David Green