Senator Casey voted on the Senate floor today to proceed with a debate on an amendment offered by Senator Blunt that would have allowed any employer to deny contraceptive coverage on moral or religious grounds.
The Senator, who is up for re-election, has been active in health care issues by looking for ways for Americans to reconcile their moral and religious views with a desire to ensure that all Americans receive quality health care.
In 2009 and 2010, Casey orchestrated the compromise in the Senate that allowed Democratic pro-life Senators to vote for health care reform.
On today’s vote, Casey’s office said in a statement, “As I have made clear continuously, I strongly support contraceptives and have voted to provide funding for family planning but I also believe that religiously-affiliated institutions should not be forced by the government to violate their beliefs. I appreciate the spirit of the Administration’s announcement on contraceptives and the attempt to satisfy concerns on both sides of this issue, but it does not go far enough to ensure that this ruling doesn’t infringe upon religious liberties. I am hopeful that the Administration now recognizes the imperative of clarifying the rule to ensure that it protects religious liberties while making contraceptive insurance available.”
Today’s vote on was on a motion to table. Rather than make Senators vote on the substance of the amendment, Majority Leader Reid decided to allow senators to vote on a procedural motion.
That did not stop one of Casey’s Republican opponents, Steve Welch from pouncing on the incumbent Senator. Welch said: “It’s nice to see that Bob Casey will occasionally vote the right way when he’s in his reelection year. But when he’s not running for office, Casey voted for the ObamaCare bill that created this outrageous violation of religious freedom. Pennsylvania deserves a senator who votes right for all six years, not a big government liberal like Bob Casey who is wrong for five years, then tries to make up for it in the sixth.”
Planned Parenthood PA also criticized Casey. They said in part, “The defeat of the Blunt amendment is an important victory, but we are immensely disappointed in Senator Casey’s vote.”
Senator Casey (and Toomey) did get support from the PA Pro-Life Federation. They said, “Senators Casey and Toomey should be commended for standing up for conscience rights by supporting the Blunt Amendment. It is clear the only way to prevent future abortion mandates under the Obama health care law is to repeal the law in its entirety. We look forward to the support of Senators Casey and Toomey the next time that measure comes before the Senate.”