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Coburn: Senate Hobby Lobby vote was a 'cynical attack on truth

Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee ranking member Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., asks questions during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Top Obama administration officials told senators they're struggling to keep up with the surge of immigrants at the Southern border. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh) AP Photo/Susan Walsh

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) blasted Senate Democrats Wednesday for politicizing the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling and trying to cast Republicans as members who don't care about women's rights.

Coburn spoke on the Senate floor just minutes after most Republicans blocked a Democratic bill aimed at reversing the Hobby Lobby ruling through legislation.

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., criticized Democrats Wednesday for mischaracterizing the Hobby Lobby ruling and Republican attempts to block a bill undoing that decision. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Democrats have indicated several times that the vote was set up to make Republicans look bad, but Coburn said Democrats are missing the point of the Hobby Lobby ruling completely. He said the ruling was about protecting people's religious freedom, and said the Democrat bill was a brazen attempt to put the GOP in a bad light.

"The Supreme Court decision was about religious freedom and whether or not I as a private businessperson am still entitled to that as I carry out commerce in this country," Coburn said.

"This bill was a cynical attack on truth," he added. "I'm glad it's not proceeding. It's time to quit wasting the Senate on political games and start addressing the very real problems this country has, like the fact that Social Security disability will run out of money next month."

Coburn said that as a doctor, he spent 25 years caring for women, including both delivering babies and in some cases performing abortions in order to save the life of the mother.

"I've spent 25 years of my life caring for women. There is not a complication of pregnancy that I have not handled."

"I've cared for women that have had abortions, and the complications that that has completed and exacerbated in their own lives, from psychological to real physical problems," he added. "I've actually performed abortions to save women's lives, who've had severe congenital heart defects and would have died had their pregnancy continued."

He also rejected Democratic attempts to paint the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, as "corporate monsters" who don't care about women.

"Nothing can be further from the truth," he said.

Coburn was joined by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who said in a released statement that Democrats were trying to use the vote as a messaging bill to score political points.

"I am proud to oppose a brazenly political attempt to undermine religious freedom through the misleadingly-named 'Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act,' a bill Senate Democrats introduced based on myths they have perpetuated about the Supreme Court's recent ruling in the Hobby Lobby case," he said.

"In fact, this legislation represents a dangerous attempt to erode those religious freedoms that I, along with 96 of my colleagues, overwhelming voted to safeguard with the passage of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993."

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