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The Blunt Amendment: How Your Senator Voted (8978)

Senate tables effort to defend conscientious objection to providing contraception and abortion coverage.

03/01/2012 Comments (32)

WASHINGTON — Efforts to secure religious freedom for employers and insurers who object on moral and religious grounds to the federal mandate for contraception and abortion coverage stalled in the U.S. Senate today.

The Senate voted 51-48 to table the bipartisan Respect for Rights of Conscience Act (S. 1467), sponsored by Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and 37 other senators.

The Blunt amendment was attached to a critical highway bill.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops issued a statement saying the vote “impels the Church to strengthen its resolve to support religious freedom.”

“The need to defend citizens’ rights of conscience is the most critical issue before our country right now,” Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, Conn., said in today’s statement. Bishop Lori chairs the bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty. “We will continue our strong defense of conscience rights through all available legal means. Religious freedom is at the heart of democracy and rooted in the dignity of every human person. We will not rest until the protection of conscience rights is restored and the First Amendment is returned to its place of respect in the Bill of Rights.”

Bishop Lori said the conference will build on the “base of support” in the Senate, consisting of the 48 senators who voted for the bill, including several Democrats. He said the bipartisan vote reaffirmed “our nation’s long tradition of respect for rights of conscience in health care.”

The bishop said the conference would “pursue legislation in the House of Representatives, urge the administration to change its course on this issue, and explore our legal rights under the Constitution and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

Reaction also came from Matt Bowman, legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, which is fighting the contraception mandate in court.

“The government cannot tell Americans that certain parts of their faith are not important enough to practice,” Bowman said in a statement. “People of faith are explicitly protected by the Constitution and federal law from such radical state invasions of conscience. The Blunt/Fortenberry Amendment was a necessary measure to begin to restore the religious liberties of Americans that Obamacare has trampled on with its assumption of unlimited bureaucratic power. Every vote for religious freedom should be unanimous, but, tragically, our fundamental freedoms didn’t seem to matter to enough senators.”

How They Voted

A ‘Yea’ vote was to reject the Blunt Amendment.

51 Yea, 48 Nay, 1 Not Voting

By Party Affiliation

Democrat: 48 Yea, 3 Nay

Republican: 1 Yea, 45 Nay, 1 Not Voting

Independent: 2 Yea, 0 Nay

By Home State


Jeff Sessions-R: Nay

Richard Shelby-R: Nay


Mark Begich-D: Yea

Lisa Murkowski-R: Nay


Jon Kyl-R: Nay

John McCain-R: Nay


John Boozman-R: Nay

Mark Pryor-D: Yea


Barbara Boxer-D: Yea

Dianne Feinstein-D: Yea


Michael Bennet-D: Yea

Mark Udall-D: Yea


Richard Blumenthal-D: Yea

Joseph Lieberman-I: Yea


Tom Carper-D: Yea

Chris Coons-D: Yea


Bill Nelson-D: Yea

Marco Rubio-R: Nay


Saxby Chambliss-R: Nay

Johnny Isakson-R: Nay

Daniel Akaka-D: Yea

Daniel Inouye-D: Yea


Mike Crapo-R: Nay

Jim Risch-R: Nay


Dick Durbin-D: Yea

Mark Kirk-R: Not Voting


Dan Coats-R: Nay

Richard Lugar-R: Nay


Chuck Grassley-R: Nay

Tom Harkin-D: Yea


Jerry Moran-R: Nay

Pat Roberts-R: Nay


Mitch McConnell-R: Nay

Rand Paul-R: Nay


Mary Landrieu-D: Yea

David Vitter-R: Nay


Susan Collins-R: Nay

Olympia Snowe-R: Yea


Ben Cardin-D: Yea

Barbara Mikulski-D: Yea


Scott Brown-R: Nay

John Kerry-D: Yea


Carl Levin-D: Yea

Debbie Stabenow-D: Yea


Al Franken-D: Yea

Amy Klobuchar-D: Yea


Thad Cochran-R: Nay

Roger Wicker-R: Nay


Roy Blunt-R: Nay

Claire McCaskill-D: Yea


Max Baucus-D: Yea

Jon Tester-D: Yea


Mike Johanns-R: Nay

Ben Nelson-D: Nay


Dean Heller-R: Nay

Harry Reid-D: Yea

New Hampshire

Kelly Ayotte-R: Nay

Jeanne Shaheen-D: Yea

New Jersey

Frank Lautenberg-D: Yea

Bob Menendez-D: Yea

New Mexico

Jeff Bingaman-D: Yea

Tom Udall-D: Yea

New York

Kirsten Gillibrand-D: Yea

Chuck Schumer-D: Yea

North Carolina

Richard Burr-R: Nay

Kay Hagan-D: Yea

North Dakota

Kent Conrad-D: Yea

John Hoeven-R: Nay


Sherrod Brown-D: Yea

Bob Portman-R: Nay


Tom Coburn-R: Nay

Jim Inhofe-R: Nay


Jeff Merkley-D: Yea

Ron Wyden-D: Yea


Bob Casey-D: Nay

Pat Toomey-R: Nay

Rhode Island

Jack Reed-D: Yea

Sheldon Whitehouse-D: Yea

South Carolina

Jim DeMint-R: Nay

Lindsey Graham-R: Nay

South Dakota

Tim Johnson-D: Yea

John Thune-R: Nay


Lamar Alexander-R: Nay

Bob Corker-R: Nay


John Cornyn-R: Nay

Kay Bailey Hutchison-R: Nay


Orrin Hatch-R: Nay

Mike Lee-R: Nay


Patrick Leahy-D: Yea

Bernie Sanders-I: Yea


Mark Warner-D: Yea

Jim Webb-D: Yea


Maria Cantwell-D: Yea

Patty Murray-D: Yea

West Virginia

Joe Manchin-D: Nay

Jay Rockefeller-D: Yea


Ron Johnson-R: Nay

Herb Kohl-D: Yea


John Barrasso-R: Nay

Mike Enzi-R: Nay

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