First vote looms on Obama birth control policy

LAURIE KELLMAN Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate is debating Republican legislation aimed at taking a bite out of President Barack Obama's health care law.

The measure, sponsored by Missouri Sen. Roy Blunt, would allow insurers and employers to opt out of any requirements to which they object on moral or religious grounds. That includes the recently rewritten policy that shifts the cost of contraceptive coverage to insurers.

Republicans say the requirement still violates freedom of religion because it forces some organizations to cover contraception even if their faiths forbid birth control.

Democrats, trying this election year to hold onto support from female and independent voters, say the measure is really an effort to reduce access to women's health care.

The vote is scheduled for Thursday.