Washington – Two female  Connecticut lawmakers, Reps. Rosa DeLauro and Elizabeth Esty, were quick to back legislation Wednesday that would reverse the Supreme Court decision to allow companies with religious objections to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that health plans for employees include birth control coverage.

“Last week the United States Supreme Court put corporate desires before the needs of women and families, which is the exact opposite of the Affordable Care Act’s intent,” De Lauro said in a statement. “Women should be able to make their own health care decisions regardless of where they work and without interference from their bosses.”

Esty said “a woman’s health care decisions should be made by the woman and her doctor—not by her employer.” She also said the decision in the case, known as Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, “was a major step backwards in our pursuit for women’s rights and gender equality.”

The legislation keeps in place the existing exemption for religious employers, such as houses of worship, and accommodates religious non-profits that do not want to provide contraception.

But the bill faces high hurdles in the GOP –controlled House. Most Republicans backed the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby ruling.

Similar legislation will be introduced by Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Mark Udall, D-Col. Even in the Democratic-controlled Senate, the backers of the legislation will face a tough time finding 60 votes to avoid a filibuster.

Sens. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., said they will co-sponsor the Murray-Udall legislation.

“Last week’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. represents an unprecedented power grab by five unelected men on the Supreme Court,” Murphy said in a statement.

But not a single Republican senator promised to back the bill.

Hobby Lobby, a Christian-owned craft supply chain store, and Conestoga Wood Specialties Store, a Pennsylvania wood manufacturer owned by a family of Mennonites, challenged the ACA’s contraception mandate on the basis that they found the morning after pill, IUD’s and certain other forms of birth control “morally objectionable” because they say it destroys fertilized eggs.

Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

Leave a comment