I was stunned by last week’s Hobby Lobby ruling.
Stunned that we live in a world where the Supreme Court of the United States of America would even consider putting the interests of big corporations before the fundamental rights of American women.
Stunned that the Court would establish precedent for one enormous slippery slope on letting employers deny individuals health coverage for any medical treatment.
Today, my Democratic colleagues and I are fighting to do what the Supreme Court failed to do: to protect the basic rights of American women and families.
Led by Senators Patty Murray and Mark Udall, we’ve just introduced a new bill – the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act. The bill reverses the Supreme Court’s decision by making it clear that employers cannot deny access to any of the health benefits required by the ACA – not immunizations, not blood transfusions, not HIV treatments, and not birth control – while preserving reasonable accommodations for religiously exempt employers.
If we’re going to respond to Hobby Lobby, it’s got to be through a legislative fix. And if the Republicans won’t fight for the women they represent, then we’re going to take that fight to them. Let them explain why they think employers should decide what health care a woman can get covered by her insurance .
I cannot believe that in 2014 I have to send you an email about protecting access to birth control. We’ve got a lot of other big problems in our country to tackle right now.
Millions of people still haven’t recovered from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. More and more young people are drowning in student debt. Too many workers are struggling to stay out of poverty on a minimum wage, and millions of others are struggling to save for retirement. Seniors keep getting told they’re going to have to get by on less.
But the Republican Party has made it clear: They want to spend their time working to deny women access to birth control and punch as many holes in the Affordable Care Act as they can.
Just look at the facts:
- In 2012, Republicans tried to pass the Blunt Amendment – legislation that would allow employers and insurance companies to deny women’s health care services – even birth control – based on any vague moral objection.
- When the Blunt Amendment failed, the Republicans resorted to hostage-taking. Remember last year’s government shutdown that nearly tanked our economy? That all started with a GOP threat to get Democrats to change the law so employers could deny coverage for birth control.
When Democrats wouldn’t cave and the government shutdown backfired, the Republicans turned to their conservative friends on the United States Supreme Court – five justices who are among the top ten most pro-corporate justices to serve in the last half-century – to do what Congress and the American people would not: give corporations rights to determine women’s access to health care coverage.
We cannot stand by while the radical right of our country conducts a full-scale assault on women’s rights and basic health care.
This is 2014, not 1914 – and we’ve had enough.