(CNSNews.com) – Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) criticized Senate Democrats and their legislation to circumvent the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision by explaining that their bill would impose “faith fines” on groups like the Little Sisters of the Poor, who refuse to subsidize abortion-inducing drugs, and asked, “Mr. President, when did the Democratic Party declare war on the Catholic Church?”
“The bill that is being voted on this floor, if it were adopted, would fine the Little Sisters of the Poor millions of dollars unless these Catholic nuns are willing to pay for abortion-producing drugs for others,” said Sen. Cruz in remarks on the Senate floor on Wednesday.
“Mr. President, when did the Democratic Party declare war on the Catholic Church?” said Cruz.
“Let me make a basic suggestion,” he continued. “If you're litigating against nuns, you have probably done something wrong, and the Obama Administration is doing so right now. Mr. President, drop your faith fines. Mr. Majority leader, drop your faith fines. To all of my Democratic colleagues, drop your faith fines. Get back to the shared values that stitch all of us together as Americans.”
The legislation in question, the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, was introduced last week by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.). The bill was designed to circumvent the Supreme Court decision in June that said tightly- held, family-run corporations do not have to provide certain contraceptives in their health care plans if it violates their religious beliefs.
The Christian-owned Hobby Lobby chain said it opposed 4 of the 20 FDA-approved contraceptives because they can induce an abortion. Plan B, for example, states on its package label that, “This product works mainly by preventing ovulation (egg release). It may also prevent fertilization of a released egg (joining of sperm and egg) or attachment of a fertilized egg to the uterus (implantation).”
By preventing implantation, the embryo (fertilized egg) dies and is expelled.
The Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, citing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and said it did not have to provide coverage for those 4 types of abortion-inducing contraceptives. The company does provide coverage for the other 16 FDA-approved contraceptives.
Murray’s legislation would essentially nullify that ruling and mandate that all employers, regardless of religious belief and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, would have to provide any coverage as stipulated under Obamacare. If employers refused, they would be fined.
Senator Cruz said, “Mr. President, faith fines have no place in our democracy.”
“Senate Democrats should not wage war on the Catholic church,” said Cruz. “President John F. Kennedy, in an historic speech to the nation, said -- quote – ‘I would not look with favor upon a president working to subvert the first amendment's guarantees of religious liberty.’ Mr. President, where are the Kennedys today? Does any Democrat have the courage to stand up and speak for the First Amendment today? Does any Democrat have the courage to stand up and speak for the constitutional rights of practicing Catholics? Does any Democrat have the courage to stand up and speak for the Little Sisters of the Poor? Do any Democrats have the courage to listen to the Catholic Conference of Bishops and speak for religious liberty? Mr. President, it saddens me that there are not 100 senators here unified, regardless of our faith, standing together protecting the religious liberty rights of everyone.”
Later on Wednesday, the Senate voted on the bill, and it failed, largely along party lines, 56-43. However, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) voted no, which allows him to bring the bill back up for reconsideration at any time. Three Republican senators – Susan Collins (Me.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), and Mark Kirk (Ill.) – joined with the Democrats in support of the legislation.