Sens. Ayotte, Fischer: Stop Distorting Hobby Lobby Decision

Image: Sens. Ayotte, Fischer: Stop Distorting Hobby Lobby Decision  New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, left, and Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer.

Wednesday, 16 Jul 2014 09:49 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Nothing in the Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruling denies a woman access to birth control, and attempts to misrepresent the facts of the case and its impact on women are divisive and damaging, say New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer.

In an opinion piece for The Wall Street Journal, the Republican lawmakers say that the decision was less about restricting birth control and more about upholding America's "centuries-old tradition of religious liberty."

"In the days since the Supreme Court's June 30 Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision, we have been troubled by those who seem eager to misrepresent both the facts of the case and the impact of its ruling on women — all to divide Americans and score political points in a tough election year," the women wrote.

"Those who distort the court's decision insist that one cannot support religious liberty and also support access to safe, affordable birth control. But these are principles that we, and millions of others, support."

The lawmakers said that contraception remains readily available and accessible for all women, and the Hobby Lobby ruling will not change that. They also said that even before Obamacare, over 85 percent of large businesses offered contraceptive coverage to their employees, and the Obamacare mandate does not apply to businesses with fewer than 50 employees.

In addition, they said, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services ensures that low-income women get access to contraception.

"With misinformation now swirling, it's important to understand what the court's decision doesn't mean," they wrote.

The senators emphasized that the decision was a narrow ruling that will only apply to businesses with a proven deeply held religious objection to the mandate, and was based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed by a Democratically controlled Congress under former President Bill Clinton.

"When President Clinton signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, he said: 'Our laws and institutions should not impede or hinder, but rather should protect and preserve fundamental religious liberties,'" they wrote.

"Congressional Democrats used to share that view. What's changed? We can preserve access to contraceptives without trampling on Americans' religious freedom."

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