Opinion

Sen. Patty Murray’s statement on Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray - Reporter file photo
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray
— image credit: Reporter file photo

U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement following the Supreme Court issued its decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court sets a dangerous precedent and takes us closer to a time in history when women had no choice and no voice. When 99 percent of women report having used birth control at one point in their life, allowing their boss to call the shots about their access to this critical health service should be inconceivable in this day and age.

“Your health care decisions are not your boss’s business – period. Since the Supreme Court decided it will not protect women’s access to health care, I will. In the coming days I will work with my colleagues and the Administration to protect this access, regardless of who signs your paycheck.

“Every American deserves to have access to high quality health care coverage and each of us should have the right to make our own medical and religious decisions without being dictated to or limited by our employers.

“Contraceptive coverage is supported by and benefits the vast majority of Americans who understand how important it is for women and families. It should not be a controversial issue.”

In January, Senator Murray led 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 and her colleagues provided an authoritative account of the legislative history and intent underlying the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA) and the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  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 ACA.

After decades of discriminatory coverage by insurance companies, the birth control benefit requires all insurance policies to cover birth control with no out-of-pocket cost to women — rightly categorizing birth control as part of women’s basic preventive care.  According to the Department of Health and Human Services,30 million women nationally are already eligible for this benefit. When the law is fully implemented, 47 million women nationally will have access to no-pay birth control thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

Thanks to the birth control benefit, women already have saved $483 million in the last year alone. Studies also show that women who receive birth control with no co-pay or at a reduced cost are able to avoid more than two million unplanned pregnancies each year, which also reduces the need for abortion. It’s not surprising that the public overwhelmingly supports the birth control benefit by a nearly two-to-one margin.

 

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