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Senate Democrats introduce legislation to overturn Hobby Lobby decision

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Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) announced in a Wednesday morning press conference that they were introducing a bill they called the "Protect Women's Health From Corporate Interference Act." The measure would mandate that for-profit companies comply with the Obamacare HHS contraception mandate. The mandate requires business owners to provide employees and dependents with full coverage for contraception, sterilization and abortion-causing drugs, without a co-pay and with no regard to the employer's religious objections.

In introducing the legislation the Senators consulted with the Obama administration.

Senator Murray said, “At a time when 99 percent of sexually active women in the U.S. have used birth control, five justices decided last week that a CEO's personal views can interfere with a woman's access to this preventive service. They're tired of being targeted and are looking to Congress to right this wrong by the Supreme Court.” []

Normally it would be impossible for Congress to overturn a Supreme Court ruling. However in this case, Senate Democrats believe that because the Supreme Court struck down the HHS mandate because it violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) without mentioning the First Amendment that Congress can act in this regard.

MSNBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell said in an interview with Murray, "Democrats have just unveiled legislation to override the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision that denied contraceptive coverage to employees of closely held companies. But is this all for show, given likely opposition in the Republican-head House? Washington Senator Patty Murray is a co-sponsor of the new bill and joins me now. Senator great to see you. Thank you very much. Is this dead on arrival? You know, you can get it through the Senate, but it's not going to get through Congress." [Newsbusters]

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, James Taranto agrees that the bill has no chance of passing and says, "Thus the introduction of the legislation is an exercise not in lawmaking but in political point-scoring. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid acknowledges as much: 'People are going to have to walk down here and vote and if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court I think they're going to be treated unfavorably in the November elections, the Journal quotes him as saying."

United Liberty notes that Harry Reid has forgotten the makeup of the Court saying, “The one thing we are going to do during this work period — sooner rather than later — is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men.”

Justice Clarence Thomas was unavailable for comment.