Last week, the Supreme Court decided that an employer’s religion could dictate the availability of contraception for all female employees, regardless of their beliefs. Shortly after, Democrats pledged to take legislative action to correct the injustice. This Wednesday, they have revealed what they have in mind.
Senators Mark Udall, D-CO. and Patty Murray, D-WA. have introduced a bill that bans any for-profit employer from refusing any form of health coverage (including contraception) to employees, regardless of how “closely held” they claim to be. Udall spoke about the bill at a news conference Wednesday:
Women should never have to ask their bosses for a permission slip to access common forms of birth control or other critical services.
The bill already has a strong backing with about 40 co-sponsors, none of which are Republican. However, many of the Democrats on board are actually hopeful about the legislation reaching across the aisle. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-C.O. was even optimistic about finding support in the Republican-held House, stating:
Lately in the House we’ve actually been able to pass legislation supporting birth control…we’re hopeful when our Republican colleagues in the House hear about this from their constituents, they’ll sign on.
If it were to become law, the bill would reinforce the original intentions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), and prevent it from being exploited as it was in the Hobby Lobby case. Rather than amending the 1993 law, the new legislation would simply hold for-profit companies to providing the contraception coverage mandated by Obamacare, and nullify court challenges for nonprofits that object to the coverage.
It is worth noting that houses of worship will still be granted an exemption from such law. What a novel idea; keeping religious beliefs in churches, mosques, and temples, rather than allowing them to interfere in the business of the state. I think I’ve heard that concept before somewhere.
h/t: LA Times