Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and 36 other senators today introduced the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act to restore the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage requirement and protect coverage of other health services from employers who would impose their beliefs on employees by denying benefits. Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) are lead sponsors of the legislation.
The bill would protect employees’ legal rights to health care services under federal law from being infringed by an employer. It would preserve the exemption from the contraceptive coverage requirement for houses of worship and the accommodation developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for religious nonprofits.
The bill states that federal laws, including the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, do not permit employers to deny legally-required coverage for health care services.
“The Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby puts at risk the health of women and of all Americans with employer-provided health coverage,” Feinstein said. “Congressional action is sorely needed to rectify the court’s decision and protect women’s access to essential health care services.
Feinstein continued: “Health care decisions should be made by women in consultation with their doctors, not employers. Our legislation would protect personal health care choices. Importantly, the bill would prevent employers from using the court’s decision as precedent to deny other essential health care services, like blood transfusions or treatment for cancer or HIV/AIDS.”
Feinstein and 18 other senators submitted an amicus brief in support of women’s access to essential health care and the government’s position in Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby. The amicus brief was cited repeatedly by Justice Ginsburg’s dissenting opinion. For additional information on the bill, click here.