Democrats Draft Bill to Reverse Birth Control Ruling

Wednesday, 02 Jul 2014 09:48 PM

By Lisa Degnen

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Democrats are already writing a bill that would try to overturn the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing some companies to opt out of providing Obamacare birth control coverage under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).

"Congress never intended RFRA to be used by employers as a means of interfering with private healthcare choices of their employees," Reps. Diana DeGette of Colorado and Jerrold Nadler of New York said in a joint statement, The Hill reports.

"The law kept in place the core principle that religion does not excuse for-profit businesses from complying with our nation's laws. It is now up to Congress to ensure that the court's ruling does not interfere with access to critical preventive healthcare services," the two Democratic House members said.

Democratic Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin said earlier this week that he would introduce legislation to require those exempt companies to tell employees and job applicants that they won't cover contraception, The Hill says.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the craft store chain Hobby Lobby, owned by evangelical Christians, is entitled to opt out of coverage for some contraceptives because of its religious beliefs despite being mandated under the Affordable Care Act, the Huffington Post reports.

Evangelical Christians say that life begins at conception and that using pills like Plan B, Next Choice or Ella, any of which would prevent a woman's ovaries from releasing an egg, would constitute murder, The Hill reports, adding that Hobby Lobby will still cover vasectomies and erectile dysfunction drugs.

"We doubt that the Congress that enacted RFRA — or, for that matter, ACA — would have believed it a tolerable result to put family-run businesses to the choice of violating their sincerely held religious beliefs or making all of their employees lose their existing healthcare plans," Justice Samuel Alito wrote in the majority opinion, The Hill reports.

Until Democrats can craft their legislation, The Hill says, the Obama administration is likely to enact an emergency regulation from the Department of Health and Human Services to help women who work for exempt companies like Hobby Lobby to get birth control directly from insurance companies.

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