“Your health care decisions are not your boss’s business,” Sen. Patty Murray declared today. “Since the Supreme Court decided it will not protect women’s access to health, I will.”
So she has.
Murray, who proclaimed herself a “mom in tennis shoes” when she launched her inaugural Senate campaign 22 years ago, is leading efforts by Senate Democrats to challenge last week’s 5-4 ruling that private companies like Hobby Lobby – which, as Seattle Weekly has reported, intends to open a massive store in North Seattle – do not have to provide contraceptive coverage if they have religious qualms about doing so.
The bill being worked up with the help of the Obama administration – it could be on the floor as early as next week – would require for-profit corporations to offer and pay for birth-control coverage, along with other preventive services, under the Affordable Care Act. It would demand that an employer “not deny coverage of a specific health care item or service,” as required by federal law, but would not cover nonprofit religious organizations or houses of worship.
As The New York Times is reporting, House Democrats are coming up with a companion bill, which, no doubt, will have much more difficult time passing the GOP-controlled chamber. Note that Speaker John A. Boehner described the Hobby Lobby decision last week as “a victory for religious freedom.”
“Congressional Democrats said Tuesday that they had developed legislation to override the Supreme Court decision on contraceptives,” writes The Times. “The bill would ensure that women have access to coverage for birth control even if they work for businesses that have religious objections.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) vowed to bring the measure up “sooner rather than later,” and force opponents to vote on it before the current Senate work period ends in early August.
“This Hobby Lobby decision is outrageous,” Reid said last week in a Capitol Hill news conference just off the Senate floor. “People are going to have to walk down here and vote, and if they vote with the five men on the Supreme Court, I think they are going to be treated unfavorably come November with the elections.”