July 14, 2014, 05:13 pm
Sen. Reid tees up bill to reverse Hobby Lobby
By Ramsey Cox
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) set up the first procedural vote on a bill that would reverse the recent Supreme Court ruling that allows some employers to deny birth control coverage for women.
“After five justices decided last week that an employer’s personal views can interfere with women's access to essential health services, we in Congress need to act quickly to right this wrong,” Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said while introducing the bill last week.
The Supreme Court recently ruled that companies, such as Hobby Lobby, don’t have to provide their employees birth control coverage as mandated under ObamaCare. The 5-4 decision stated that the mandate violated the religious liberties of employers who don’t believe in the use of contraceptives.
Democrats have pounced on the issue ahead of the November elections in order to draw contrast between the two parties on the issue.
“The U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives,” said Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), a lead co-sponsor of the bill. “My common-sense proposal will keep women's private health decisions out of corporate board rooms, because your boss shouldn't be able to dictate what is best for you and your family.”
Senate Democrats will need at least five Republicans to join them in voting to end debate on the motion to proceed to S. 2578, but it seems unlikely they will get that support. That vote is expected Wednesday.
Republicans have accused Democrats of attacking the First Amendment, which grants religious freedoms. Under ObamaCare, churches are not forced to provide healthcare that includes contraceptive coverage.
Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft stores, is owned by conservative Christians who argued that the employer mandate to provide basic healthcare options forced them to violate their religious principles.