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Senate bill to reverse Hobby Lobby decision doesn’t pass

Hobby Lobby At Center Of Supreme Court Case Against Affordable Care Act Birth Control ClauseHobby Lobby At Center Of Supreme Court Case Against Affordable Care Act Birth Control Clause
The exterior of a Hobby Lobby store.Photograph by Justin Sullivan—Getty Images

Senate Democrat’s effort to diminish the impact of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision was blocked by Republicans Wednesday, as both parties try to appeal to women voters ahead of the midterm elections.

The bill was intended to restore the employer mandate to provide birth control coverage under the Affordable Care Act. It was defeated 56-43 on a procedural vote.

Democrat’s were looking for a way around the highest court’s ruling, which said private companies could raise religious objections to avoid covering birth control in workers’ health plans.

The rejected bill tried to prevent companies from using the Religious Freedom Restoration Act to avoid providing copayment-free contraception. If passed it would have dampened the impact of the Supreme Court’s decision, though would have faced fierce opposition in the Republican-dominated House.

Three Senate Republicans voted to advance the bill along with almost all Democratic senators. However, the legislation still fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance.

Harry Reid was the only Democrat to vote against the bill in a procedural move that allows him to resurrect the legislation in the future. He plans to bring it back to the floor later this year for another vote.