WASHINGTON (AP) — In an election-year pitch to female voters, Democrats on Wednesday pressed for legislation that would restore free contraception for women who get their health insurance from companies that object on religious grounds.
The Senate scheduled an afternoon vote on advancing the bill, which responds to last month’s Supreme Court ruling that businesses with religious objections could deny coverage under President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Republicans were expected to block the measure, which they deem a political stunt with no chance of becoming law. Many in the GOP have endorsed the court’s decision as upholding the constitutional guarantee of religious freedom.
Democrats have seized on the contraception issue as they look ahead to November with hopes of energizing voters, especially women, in typically low turnout midterm elections. The party’s Senate majority is in jeopardy. Democrats must defend more seats and Republicans are upbeat about their prospects of gaining the six seats necessary to secure control. Republicans said the Democratic effort was merely a move to boost struggling incumbents and that both parties support a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions. Democrats said a woman’s health care decision should not be made by her employer’s faith.