Update: On July 16 the U.S. Senate voted against considering S. 2578, a bill empowering the federal government to override the Religious Freedom Restoration Act and other federal conscience laws when it mandates including any “item or service” in health plans.
On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores that the HHS contraceptive mandate cannot be used to force a family business to provide coverage for drugs and devices that violates the family members’ religious convictions. The Court relied on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed overwhelmingly by Congress and signed by President Clinton in 1993. Legal challenges by non-profit religious groups are still pending.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) has introduced a bill (S. 2578) that would not only reverse Hobby Lobby, but go far beyond that decision. It negates any right that employers, insurers or employees may have, under RFRA or any other federal law, to opt out of federally mandated coverage. The U.S. Senate may vote in the next few days on this anti-conscience bill. Please contact your Senators today!