Washington, DC, United States (4E) – Democrats in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday filed bills in an effort to reverse the recent Supreme Court ruling allowing employers to refuse contraceptives for women workers under the Obamacare for being against their religious beliefs.
Sens. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) introduced the bill called “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act” that bans for-profit employers from refusing to provide health coverage — including contraceptive coverage -as required by federal law.
Murray said the bill aims to correct the Supreme Court ruling on the Hobby Lobby case that allows private businesses to deny workers legally mandated health care coverage. Under the bill, for-profit companies cannot opt out of the Obamacare contraception coverage rule and nullifies court challenges against that particular health coverage.
“We are here to ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between people and their guaranteed access to healthcare,” Murray said at the Capitol, according to ABC News.
The Supreme Court based its ruling on the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) that protects individual’s religious expression against certain laws. But Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said the justices misinterpreted the RFRA saying it protects employees’ freedom of religion. In the Supreme Court ruling, the employer has the power to deny critical medical care to their employees, Boxer said.
Forty Democrats are co-sponsoring the bill and Murray urged Republican senators to support it. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he intends to bring the bill to a Senate vote as soon as next week.
Meanwhile, Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) plans to introduce a companion legislation in the House with support from fellow New York Democrats Jerrold Nadler and Louise Slaughter.