Catholic Democrats Help Defeat Senate Amendment Desgined to Protect Religious Conscience Rights

By Penny Starr | March 2, 2012 | 5:55 PM EST

Senator John Kerry, D-Mass. (AP Photo)

( – Despite the fact that all 181 Catholic bishops in the United States are opposed to the Obama health care mandate requiring all health insurers to offer  contraceptives, abortifacients, and sterilizations free of charge, Catholic senators – all Democrats -- voted against an amendment to the mandate that would have protected the religious conscience rights of health care insurers and providers.

Following the 51-48 defeat of the Blunt amendment,  which states as its purpose “to amend the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to protect rights of conscience with regard to requirements for coverage of specific items and services,” the National Catholic Register broke down the vote by religious affiliation.

The math showed 13 Democrat senators voted against the amendment and 11 Democrat senators voted for it.

Catholics voting against the amendment were

Mark Begich (D-Alaska)

Maria Cantwell (D-Washington)

Richard Durbin (D-Illinois)

Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York)

Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)

John Kerry (D-Massachusetts)

Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana)

Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont)

Claire McCaskill (D-Missouri)

Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey)

Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland)

Patty Murray (D-Washington)

and Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island).


Catholics who voted for the amendment include

Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire)

Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania)

Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia)

Bob Casey, Jr. (D-Pennsylvania)

Jim Risch (R-Idaho)

David Vitter (R-Louisiana)

Susan Collins (R-Maine)

John Hoeven (R-North Dakota)

Mike Johanns (R-Nebraska)

Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

Marco Rubio (R-Florida)


Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File)

“If you do the math, 11 Catholics in the Senate voted for conscience protections and 13 voted against,” the March 1 Register article states. “A majority of the Catholics in the Senate voted against conscience protections for their Church institutions and the religious liberty of all Americans.”

“Catholics defeated the Blunt amendment,” the article states.

According to the Catholic Vote web site, all 181 U.S. Catholic bishops publicly denounced the Obamacare mandate because, they said, it is a violation of religious liberty under the First Amendment – in this case, the federal government forcing individual Catholics to subsidize products and services that are contrary to their religious beliefs.

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