The U.S. Senate has dealt a setback to the effort to protect religious freedom and conscience rights in the Obama administration’s controversial contraceptive/abortion mandate. With a 51-48 vote, senators tabled an amendment Thursday (March 1) to guard the “religious beliefs or moral convictions” of those offering and purchasing insurance under the health care law enacted in 2010. By its action, the Senate refused to consider — and, in essence, killed — a proposal offered by Sen. Roy Blunt, R.-Mo., in response to a requirement under the law that all health insurance plans cover without cost to employees sterilizations and contraceptives, including those that can cause abortions.