Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) denounced Senate Democrats for introducing a bill Wednesday to overturn the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision.
The legislation would alter the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, cited by the Supreme Court in its ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, which passed both Houses of Congress and was signed by President Bill Clinton.
Hatch remarked that the bill would distort the purpose of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, reminding observers that he teamed up with Senator Ted Kennedy to introduce the bill over 20 years ago, which passed 97-3.
Hatch dismissed the bill as a purely political exercise.
The bill is expected to fail, as Democrats are seeking leverage against Republicans in the upcoming mid-term elections, accusing them of blocking women’s access to free contraception from their employers.
Hatch was joined by his colleague Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and members of faith-based groups, who spoke out against the bill.
Republicans and faith leaders insisted that the Hobby Lobby case was not about restricting employees’ access to contraception, but took issue, rather, with abortifacients.
Melissa Swearingen, the associate director of Government Relations for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, called the Hobby Lobby decision a “just outcome” allowing protections for people with different viewpoints in a pluralistic society. She argued that the bill proposed by the Senate would distort the original meaning of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act.