Senators voted 56-43, with 60 required, not to advance the measure, which seeks to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court ruling involving the craft-store chain Hobby Lobby Stores Inc.
The Senate was voting on a motion for cloture, or an effort to keep opponents of the measure from stalling the bill with an unlimited round of debate.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nov., voted against the cloture motion.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, voted for the motion.
“Women should call the shots when it comes to their health-care decisions: Not their boss, not the government, not anyone else — period,” Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said yesterday in a floor speech. She drafted the measure with fellow Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo.
In the June 30 Supreme Court decision, the justices ruled 5-4 that the federal government should try to limit the burden on closely held employers with strong religious beliefs when imposing regulatory requirements.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) required the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to work with the Institute of Medicine to develop a basic package of preventive services that all plans must cover without imposing deductibles or co-payments on the patients.