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First vote looms on Obama birth control policy
Senate puts members on record for or against Obama law requiring free birth control
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Democrats and Republicans, both eager to rouse their respective political bases in an election year are fighting fiercely over President Barack Obama's mandate that health insurers cover the cost of contraceptives.

Republicans are pushing legislation to allow insurers and employers to opt out of any provision in the president's health care law to which they object on moral or religious grounds. That includes the requirement to cover the cost of birth control. Republicans say the requirement violates the freedom of religion because it forces some organizations to cover contraception even though their faith forbids it.

Democrats meanwhile say the legislation is really an attempt to limit access to birth control.

The Senate is set to vote on the matter on Thursday.

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