WASHINGTON (CBS SF) — House Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi has offered her support for a bill introduced by two Democratic lawmakers that would prohibit for-profit employers from using religious beliefs to deny employees coverage of contraception.
Pro-Choice Caucus co-Chairs Louise Slaughter (D-NY) and Diana DeGette (D-CO) introduced the measure following the Supreme Court decision allowing craft store Hobby Lobby not to comply with the Obama administration’s health care law’s requirement that birth control coverage be provided to workers at no extra charge.
The high court’s ruling applies to businesses that are closely held, with five or fewer people owning the majority of the company’s stock.
“The Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby was a gross assault on workers’ rights and women’s health that singled out women’s health for discrimination,” said Pelosi in a press release. “For-profit corporations must not be allowed to pick and choose which laws to obey or which essential health care services to insure.”
“Congress should act immediately to take up this legislation, and restore the right of workers not to have their health care limited by their bosses’ beliefs. It’s just not their bosses’ business,” said Pelosi.
Republicans lawmakers and conservative groups have hailed the ruling as one which favors religious liberty.
The justices’ 5-4 decision means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under the health insurance plans of objecting companies.