Women’s health advocates came together in Central Florida last week to rally against the US Supreme Court’s June ruling in Hobby Lobby v. Burwell and push for federal legislation to overturn the decision.
“It’s unbelievable that in 2014, politicians and now bosses are trying to interfere with access to birth control,” said Anna Eskamani, Director of External Affairs for Planned Parenthood of Greater Orlando, about the Hobby Lobby decision. The Supreme Court ruled that because of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), closely-held corporations like Hobby Lobby could avoid paying for insurance coverage of birth control without penalty if they claimed a religious objection to contraceptives. “This shows a troubling level of disregard for American women, who should be able to make private medical decisions without asking for a permission slip from their bosses,” Eskamani said.
In an attempt to reverse the ruling, several Democrats introduced the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act, referred to as the Not My Boss’s Business Act, in both the House and Senate in July. It would prohibit employers from refusing to offer health coverage – including contraceptives – guaranteed to their employees under federal law. The bill also provides that no federal law, including RFRA, permits employers from refusing to comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The bill was blocked in the Senate last month, but Senator Harry Reid (D-NV) indicated that he intends to hold another vote on the bill later this year. The House version of the bill has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee. Last Friday, constituents delivered 135 petitions to Congressman Daniel Webster (R-FL) in support of the bill.
Media Resources: West Orlando News 8/1/14; Feminist Newswire 7/1/14, 7/8/14, 7/17/14