Murkowski one of three Republicans to vote to advance anti-Hobby Lobby bill

As she’s done in the past, particularly on social issues, U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski bucked her party and voted to advance a bill that would have reversed a recent Supreme Court ruling that allows closely held corporations to decline to provide employees insurance coverage for some forms of birth control based on religious objections. The bill was co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Begich. As expected, it failed.

In addition to Murkowski, two other Republican senators voted to advance it: Mark Kirk of Illinois, and Susan Collins of Maine, both of whom, like Murkowski, are known for being moderate Republicans.

Murkowski’s vote is consistent with what she said in 2012 after she supported a measure called the Blunt amendment that would have done through Congress what the Supreme Court eventually did. After the amendment failed, Murkowski came back home and heard numerous complaints from her constituents. She said that she regretted the vote and would not vote for it again.

“I have never had a vote I’ve taken where I have felt that I let down more people that believed in me,” she told the Anchorage Daily News’ Julia O’Malley shortly have the bill died.

In a statement, Begich said he was disappointed with the bill’s failure. “The Hobby Lobby case could impact more than 60,000 Alaska women who could be denied access to affordable birth control because of their boss’ personal beliefs and I am disappointed that the Senate failed to do the right thing and give women the peace of mind and access to health care they deserve,” Begich said.

The recent Supreme Court decision could be a big issue in the upcoming Senate race. All three Republican candidates who are vying for their party’s nomination support the Supreme Court’s decision.

Contact Amanda Coyne at

Clarification: As opposed to what was originally written, Murkowski’s vote wasn’t for the bill, but to open debate on the bill.


11 thoughts on “Murkowski one of three Republicans to vote to advance anti-Hobby Lobby bill

  1. Steve Visek

    None of this would be an issue once we get away from employer-provided health insurance and instead employers just give their employees a credit to buy their own plan or just higher pay and be out of it entirely. We need to have a system where everyone picks the plan that is best for them and their family and where employers and the government are not making the decisions.

  2. Dan Fagan

    While I am disappointed in Sen. Murkowski’s vote I certainly understand it. Standing up to the death culture crowd takes great courage and comes with severe consequences. Sen. Murkowski saw first hand when she once stood up to the death culture movement. I can see how she wouldn’t want to fight that battle again.

  3. akmom

    You seriously need to either take a biology class or buy a book. IUDs and Plan B PREVENT the fertilization of the egg by the sperm. They do NOT have anything to do with abortion. How come Hobby Lobby covered these two types of birth control before being approached by a politically conservative organization to “take up the cause” against the Health Care Act? If you want to oppose ObamaCare, fine, you are entitled to your opinion but at least get the science right.

  4. thanks lisa and mark

    Smoke and get cancer, pay for it yourself, you chose to smoke. Cirrhosis of the liver, pay for it yourself you chose to drink. A Mormon closely held corporation could say it is not going to cover these conditions because they do not condone smoking and drinking. I will never have prostate cancer and my husband will never have uterine cancer, yet our health insurance plans require that these are covered. What people seem to miss is that most employees, men and women, pay into their health insurance plans. They should have the coverage that meets their needs. Using moral / religious reasons to deny coverage for medical needs is ludicrous.

  5. Shame on you

    What is it with the women in the United States, first there is the phony war on women, then this nonsense about contraception. If you women want to have sex and get pregnant, then please pay for your own contraception and abortions. You have NO BUSINESS asking your employers and other taxpayers to cover those costs. Have some integrity for christs’ sake. I’m a woman who had two abortions and I paid for them both MYSELF, including contraception before and after. So if I can, all other women can and should too. And I firmly believe that the liberals including Murkowski (who’s a liberal) should understand that tax payers should not be footing the bill for abortions and contraception. That should be the responsibility of the person having the sex and or abortion. And as far as the liberty for institutions such as christian charities and hospitals to say NO to abortions and providing contraception, I fully agree with that as well. You cannot hold religious institutions hostage against their belief systems. This phony war on women has gone too far.

  6. Anonymous

    Murkowski and Begich are trying to override the Supreme Court’s ruling protecting freedom of conscience? This is outrageous. And the dishonest spin is equally outrageous! Hobby Lobby covered birth control, just not the abortive kinds of birth control. Just like Providence Hospital won’t do abortions because it’s a Catholic hospital and it is its right to refuse to go against its Catholic foundation. If people want to have sex outside marriage, or don’t want to have children, cover your own birth control. After all, it is YOUR personal decision to have sex. It is YOUR personal responsibility to pay for it in every way possible. I am a woman and I resent how liberals and moderate Murkowski make this a “women’s issue.” It is not a women’s issue. It’s an entitlement cry by the irresponsible and the immoral. Pay for you own damn birth control and stop expecting others to pay for it.

    The spin is ridiculous and people are like sheep. They follow the spurious pontifications of the liberal spin doctors without doing their own homework, or thinking for that matter.

    Murkowski should just call herself a democrat because her votes are more liberal than conservative and don’t reflect the majority of her constituents. That’s why Miller beat her in the primary in 2010. If he hadn’t had securty staff that removed a reporter or had so many other issues, he would have beaten her in the general as well. I hope and pray for a true conservative to beat her and remove her from the Senate in 2016.

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