For-profit employers would be barred from using religious beliefs to deny contraception coverage or other federally mandated health services to their employees under federal legislation introduced in the U.S. House on Wednesday.
The "Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act" comes in response to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in the Hobby Lobby case.
"By giving employers the power to deny coverage for contraceptives, the Supreme Court rolled back women’s health care rights,” said U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, a lawmaker who helped introduce the bill. Schneider is also member of the House Pro-Choice Caucus.
"I helped introduce legislation to prohibit for-profit employers from denying women coverage for vital health care services. A woman’s health care decisions should be made between her and her doctor, not dictated by the personal beliefs of her employer,” the congressman added.
The measure introduced today keeps in place the existing exemption for religious employers and accommodation for religious non-profits, according to Schneider's office.
“With this bill, Congress can begin to fix the damage done by the Supreme Court’s decision to allow for-profit corporations to deny their employees birth control coverage. The Supreme Court last week opened the door to a wide range of discrimination and denial of services. This bill would help close the door for denying contraception before more corporations can walk through it," said Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Action Fund.
"As the nation's leading advocate for women’s reproductive health care, Planned Parenthood Action Fund is committed to making sure women can get the no-copay birth control benefit that we and others fought so hard to pass and protect. No woman should lose access to birth control because her boss doesn't approve of it,” she added.
U.S. Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced companion legislation today in the upper chamber as well.