(Washington, D.C.) — In the wake of the Supreme Court Hobby Lobby decision, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) co-sponsored legislation introduced today to restore contraceptive coverage guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and to protect coverage of other health services from employers who want to impose their beliefs on employees by denying benefits.
The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act was introduced by U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO). Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) are introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
“Shamefully, the Supreme Court has held that the religious rights of corporations trump the personal freedoms of American women. I am proud to join with my Senate colleagues in co-sponsoring legislation to right this wrong and to restore critical access to contraceptive coverage for countless American women. Religious liberty is about the right to practice your religion, not the right to impose your religion on your employees,” Blumenthal said.
“Last week’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. represents an unprecedented power grab by five unelected men on the Supreme Court. The immediate effect of this decision is that a woman’s boss can be the one calling the shots about her health care decisions – an outrageous intrusion into a woman’s personal life that needs to be reversed. Thousands of women of all ages and backgrounds in Connecticut rely on this essential health benefit every single day and bosses shouldn’t be allowed to take it away because they find it objectionable. Our bill will restore this critical Affordable Care Act requirement and allow women to take back control of their health care decisions,” Murphy said.
“After five justices decided last week that an employer’s personal views can interfere with women's access to essential health services, we in Congress need to act quickly to right this wrong,” said Senator Murray. “This bicameral legislation will ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between people and their guaranteed access to health care, period. I hope Republicans will join us to revoke this court-issued license to discriminate and return the right of Americans to make their own decisions, about their own health care and their own bodies.”
"The U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives. Coloradans understand that women should never have to ask their bosses for a permission slip to access common forms of birth control or other critical health services," said Senator Udall. "My common-sense proposal will keep women's private health decisions out of corporate board rooms, because your boss shouldn't be able to dictate what is best for you and your family."
“With this bill, Congress can begin to fix the damage done by the Supreme Court’s decision to allow for-profit corporations to deny their employees birth control coverage. The Supreme Court last week opened the door to a wide range of discrimination and denial of services. This bill would help close the door for denying contraception before more corporations can walk through it," said Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Action Fund. "As the nation's leading advocate for women’s reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood Action Fund is committed to making sure women can get the no-copay birth control benefit that we and others fought so hard to pass and protect. No woman should lose access to birth control because her boss doesn't approve of it.”
"Last week, we heard a collective gasp across the country as Americans everywhere tried to make sense of five male Justices on the Supreme Court deciding that our bosses could have control over our birth control in the Hobby Lobby decision,” said Ilyse Hogue, President, NARAL Pro-Choice America. “Today, we hear those gasps turn to cheers as we see champions in Congress move to right this wrong. Ninety-nine percent of American women use some form a of birth control in our lifetimes, and all medical experts agree that these remedies should be included in comprehensive healthcare. Anything less than this amounts to discrimination against women in the workplace. If there's one thing we can agree upon more than the idea that politicians aren't equipped to decide for us how and when and with whom we have families, it's that our bosses are even less so. This bill is the first step in making sure those personal healthcare decision stay where they belong -- in the hands of the women whose lives are affected."
“This critical legislation will protect women’s health care services guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and safeguard their rights,” said Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President, National Women’s Law Center. “Women have worked for and earned the right to have their health needs covered—just as men do. This legislation makes it unmistakably clear that businesses, in the name of religion, can neither discriminate against their female employees nor impose their religious beliefs on them. Bosses should stick to what they know best—the board room and the bottom line—and stay out of the bedroom and exam room.”
Also co-sponsoring the bill were Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Al Franken (D-MN), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Timothy Kaine (D-VA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Carl Levin (D-MI), Ed Markey (D-MA), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Charles Schumer (D-NY), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), John Walsh (D-MT), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).