Alaska senators vote to advance contraception bill

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Alaska's U.S. senators voted to advance legislation aimed at restoring free contraception for women who get their health insurance from companies with religious objections.

The effort fell four votes short of the 60 needed.

The bill was a response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found requiring private companies to pay for forms of women's contraception to which they object violates the corporations' religious freedom.

Democratic Sen. Mark Begich co-sponsored the bill. Sen. Lisa Murkowski was one of three Republicans who voted in support.

Murkowski said her vote was consistent with her long-held belief regarding women's access to affordable health care, including contraception.

She said that while she wants to see the federal health care overhaul repealed, access to health care services shouldn't be restricted in the meantime.

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