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Senators to introduce legislative women’s health measure in aftermath of SCOTUS Hobby Lobby decision

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand will introduce the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act 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. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) are introducing companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

“RFRA was intended to give individuals who profess strong religious beliefs what they had always enjoyed – the strong presumption that they should be able to exercise their religious beliefs without government interference,” said Senator Schumer. “RFRA was not intended to extend the same protection to for-profit corporations, whose very purpose is to profit from the open market;  the Supreme Court’s decision is unprecedented under the Free Exercise Clause, goes far beyond RFRA’s intention, and is dead-wrong. This decision immediately denies thousands of women basic rights to healthcare and contraceptives and by putting health care decisions in the hands of a woman’s boss, the decision creates a slippery slope that could affect tens of millions of Americans in the future.”

“It is shocking that in 2014, women still have to fight over access to birth control. For the first time in our history, the Supreme Court has declared that some for-profit corporations have religious beliefs and can impose those beliefs on their employees,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Congress must make it clear that businesses are not people and do not have the same rights people have. This legislation will help right this wrong by ensuring that no boss can use their personal belief to limit what health care services an employee has access to.”