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Senate Votes On Birth Control Legislation

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WASHINGTON (WWJ/AP) – The U.S. Senate was expected to vote Thursday on proposed Republican legislation designed to let employers and insurers opt out of provisions in the President’s health care law if they object on religious or moral grounds.

Senator Carl Levin (D-Mich.) says that is dangerous territory and he will vote against the measure.

“I think that it’s bad mistake for us to be telling insurance companies or employers that if they have a moral objection to something that they can not provide insurance for it,” Levin said.

Levin said that it may start with birth control, but where would it end?

“So if you have an employer that has a moral objection to blood transfusions or to  vaccinations  or if insurance companies have moral objections to anything, under this bill … they don’t have to provide insurance,” he said.

Under pressure from catholic bishops, President Barack Obama last month rewrote a policy to shift the cost of birth control from employers to their insurers. The Catholic Church didn’t want a government mandate telling them what health benefits they had to offer especially since they don’t believe in birth control.

Republicans say the requirement 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.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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