Senate Blocks Bill to Address Contraception Access After ‘Hobby Lobby’


On Wednesday, the Senate voted against a bill to mitigate the Supreme Court’s June decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The legislation would have prohibited corporations from denying its employees coverage of contraceptives in insurance plans.

The bill, called the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act, would have clarified that the religious preferences of employers do not justify the denial of access to health services guaranteed by federal law, such as in the Affordable Care Act.

In the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court based its decision largely on the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), which protects an individual’s right to practice their personally held beliefs. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), an author of the 1993 legislation, said Wednesday that the intention of RFRA was stretched by the Supreme Court in its Hobby Lobby ruling. “I can say with absolute certainty that the Supreme Court got the Hobby Lobby case dead wrong,” said Schumer before the vote. He noted that the act was never meant to justify the denial of contraceptive access to women by corporations.

“This bill is not only about birth control,” Schumer said, but about any kind of health service that could be denied for religious reasons, like blood transfusions, vaccines, and anti-depressants. The Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act would ensure that corporations do not use RFRA to deny insurance coverage of such health services.

Democratic Senators failed to garner Republican support for the legislation, and it was blocked.

Like this story? Your $10 tax-deductible contribution helps support our research, reporting, and analysis.

Follow Nina Liss-Schultz on twitter: @NinaLisss

  • Jay DeGraaf

    Not surprised by this at all.

  • missedgehead

    No surprise. I hope voters remember in November.

  • http://plumstchili.blogspot.com/ Plum Dumpling

    Not surprised either. Things are getting grimmer by the moment,

  • fiona64

    Quelle surprise; the GOTeabircher He-man Woman Hater’s Club strikes again.

    Remember, GOP; a woman’s body has a way of “shutting that thing down.”

  • P. McCoy

    Not just remember in November but for the future- changing the Constitution to protect us from.religious tyranny. When only wealthy women can afford to get abortions and prescription based contraception and other women die or are hopelessly crippled by the lack of the medicines, die from illegal abortions or are victims of forced pregnancies, then we will see a fight for reproductive rights. The theocrats will impose a tyranny that will make the Third Reich look like a walk in the park!

  • RNfromNY

    I used to be proud of this country. Now I see why the world can’t stand us. How backward we are!

  • StealthGaytheist

    Ugh. What I want to say right now violates TOS and common decency.

  • BelligerentBruncher

    Do you know how I mitigate my insurance company causing me to have a “lack of access” to buying prescription glasses?

    I buy them myself. I KNOW, the horror, right?

    • cjvg

      Do they only prohibit MEN from having prescription glass coverage or is it all people who have the same coverage as you ?

      • BelligerentBruncher

        I apologize.

        I forgot that men and women are 100% identical and that everyone should be treated equally, regardless of gender. Again, I apologize and I hope that you can see my sorrow.

        • cjvg

          Ah, your so called argument is exposed as the complete fallacy it is and now you have to resort to some other platitude!
          Yes it would be best if all genders would be treated equally, that is what the pro-choice has been saying all along. At least then women’s reproductive choices will no longer be singled out as something that must be regulated by society and special laws and exceptions that ONLY apply to their choices!

  • Sitara Singley

    Contraception is a right.