DENVER (CBS4)– State lawmakers participated in a fiery debate on Friday as they discussed a measure that would deny medical care based on moral and religious grounds.

Women lawmakers on both sides of the aisle took the debate to an emotional level; Democrats accused Republicans of using women’s bodies as political pawns and Republicans said Democrats are creating a war on women that isn’t there.

“I reject the way this issue has been twisted. I believe it is for partisan reasons. I believe that is a red herring. I am someone who is pro-choice, Republican woman,” said Sen. Ellen Roberts, a Republican representing Durango.

“But that right for religious freedom in our country has never included the right to force your religious or moral beliefs on others particularly when it means taking away their religious, moral and constitutional rights,” said Sen. Morgan Carroll, a Democrat representing Aurora.

At the beginning of the session, Democrats unfurled a 30-foot banner showing their position on the debate which only sparked more emotion among their counterparts across the aisle.

“This is government overreach into your bedroom, your body and your doctor’s office,” said Carroll.

The Republican measure would urge Congress to pass a controversial amendment that would allow health providers, insurers and employers to deny coverage based on religious or moral objections.

“Just as women’s rights are threatened when the government says what healthcare services she can or cannot use, religious liberties are threatened when the government forces religious organizations to pay for insurance plans that conflict with their beliefs,” said Sen. Jean White, a Republican representing Hayden.

Congress debated the Blunt Amendment earlier this year before it was defeated.

The measure at the state Capitol failed on a party line vote. Even though that result was predicted, both sides said the issue was too important to let it die quietly.


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