Markey Joins Senators In Legislative Fix to Protect Women’s Health in Wake of Damaging Supreme Court Hobby Lobby Decision

Washington (July 9, 2014)—  In response to the damaging Hobby Lobby ruling from the Supreme Court, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) co-sponsored legislation introduced today by Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) to restore the contraceptive coverage requirement guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act and protect coverage of other health services from employers who want to impose their beliefs on their employees by denying benefits. The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act would ensure that employers cannot interfere win their employee’s decisions about contraception and other health services through discrimination. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), and Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) are introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives. 

"The disastrous Hobby Lobby ruling demanded immediate action, and the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act is a smart legislative fix to ensure women can continue to make important health decisions without interference from corporations or employers,” said Senator Markey. “We should be expanding access to safe reproductive health care for women, not restricting it in any way. The only people who should be involved in decisions about a woman’s body and her health are her doctor and herself. I look forward to working with my colleagues to pass this legislation and rectify the Court’s wrong-headed decision.” 

“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."

 

Other Senators co-sponsoring the legislation include: Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Mark Begich (D-AK), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), 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), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Chris Murphy (D-CT), 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), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR).

 

In January, Senator Markey joined eighteen other Senate Democrats in filing an amicus brief in support of the government’s position in the cases of Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius. The brief filed by Senator Murray provided an authoritative account of the legislative history and intent underlying the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) and the Affordable Care Act.  The Senators urged the Supreme Court to reverse the Tenth Circuit’s expansion of RFRA’s scope and purpose as applied to secular, for-profit corporations and their shareholders seeking to evade the contraceptive-coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act.

 

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