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Senate Democrats seek to overturn Supreme Court's contraceptive ruling


Legislation introduced Wednesday by a group of Senate Democrats would overturn last week's U.S. Supreme Court decision saying that the federal government cannot force closely held private employers to offer and pay for prescription contraceptive coverage.

The legislation — Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act — makes clear that all federal laws, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, do not permit employers to refuse to comply with federal health reform law rules requiring them to provide coverage for prescription contraceptives.

By contrast, the Supreme Court said the RFRA protected the “religious liberty of the humans” who own closely held corporations and oppose providing employees with coverage for prescription contraceptives as required under Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act regulations.

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., introduced the measure.

“The U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives,” Sen. Udall said in a statement.

“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,” Sen. Udall added.

The legislation would leave undisturbed a portion of U.S. Department of Health and Human Services regulations that exempt religious organizations, such as churches, from complying with the prescription contraceptive mandate, while allowing an approach laid down by the regulations under which third-party administrators provide the coverage to employees of nonprofit organizations with religious objections to prescription contraceptives.

The legislation would face an uphill battle to win congressional approval. Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, for example, described the Supreme Court decision as “a victory for religious freedom and another defeat for an administration that has repeatedly crossed constitutional lines in pursuit of its Big Government objective.”