New Hampshire’s junior Senator Kelly Ayotte is regarded by most politics observers as a rising start within the GOP. She has staked out an important role in defending our nation’s military readiness against reckless budget cuts. She has been a powerful surrogate for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. But it is in her defense of religious freedom against attacks by the Obama administration that Ayotte appears to be finding her national voice.

On Wednesday, Ayotte took to the floor of the Senate to condemn a recent Health and Human Services rule that forces Catholic hospitals, colleges and charitable organizations to offer health insurance coverage that includes abortion-inducing drugs and contraception, a direct assault on the right of Roman Catholics to practice their faith as they see fit.

“I share the concerns of my constituents in New Hampshire and citizens across this nation, who see the recent rule issued by the administration for what it is — an unprecedented, unnecessary affront to religious liberty in our country,” said Senator Ayotte. “This issue isn’t limited to the Catholic Church. The administration’s new health care mandates on religious institutions impact all religions.”

She continued, “This mandate places religious institutions in this impossible position of violating their core beliefs in order to comply with the mandate or dropping employee insurance coverage altogether. We should not be putting these organizations that do great work throughout this country in this position.”

MSNBC’s Chuck Todd pointed out that Ayotte is the first woman Senator to speak out against the administrations attack on the Constitutional right to conscience from the floor of that august body.