Contraception Amendment Rejected by US Senate but Debate Continues

In Washington Thursday the Senate rejected a Republican amendment to President Barack Obama's policy on contraception insurance coverage. Democrats say the amendment could be used to cancel virtually any part of the law, and would allow employers and insurers to deny birth control for religious or ethical reasons. The amendment has also become a central debate among Massachusetts politicians.

Democratic United State Senator John Kerry voted to kill the amendment, which would have allowed employers and insurers to opt out of portions of the president's health care law they found morally objectionable. Kerry called the amendment, named after Missouri Republican Senator Roy Blunt, "dangerously broad."

"It could allow children to be denied immunizations. It could allow companies to actually object to mental health services. It could allow for the denial of HIV screenings."

Kerry and Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown are split on the issue. Brown believes the Blunt Amendment, or Conscience Act, is an issue of religious freedom, and has released this ad.

"I support a Conscience Exemption in health care for Catholics and other people of faith. I believe it's possible to provide people with access to the healthcare they want, while at the same time protecting the rights of Americans to follow their religious beliefs."

This week U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius said her department is still working with the faith community on a final rule that will address the concerns of the Catholic Church and other institutions with employees. The amendment has also become a source of debate between Brown and his Democratic challenger in the U.S. senate race, Elizabeth Warren, who sides with Kerry and says it's an attack on women's rights and family health care.