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Birth control mandate repeal will get vote

Feb. 14, 2012 at 5:06 PM

WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said he'll let a bill that would repeal the White House's hot-button birth control mandate be brought up for a vote.

Reid had criticized Senate Republicans for offering what he called "extraneous" amendments to the Senate's transportation bill but then said he had agreed to a vote on contraception mandate, The Hill reported.

Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., sponsored an amendment that would allow employers to opt out of healthcare mandates they find immoral.

The Health and Human Services Department issued an interim rule mandating health insurance plans for employees of Catholic hospitals and other religiously affiliated institutions include coverage for birth control, sterilization and other preventive services, raising the hackles of Catholic church leaders and members of the Republican Party.

Obama announced on Friday a modification to the rule, saying women will have access to free preventive care that includes contraceptive services, but if a women's employer objects to birth control for religious reasons, then the insurance company will be required to offer the woman contraceptive care free of charge.

Blunt said he looked forward to debating his amendment and wanted to make sure it was attached to "a bill the president has to sign."

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