On Monday, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) sent a letter to Hobby Lobby, requesting that the craft store chain voluntarily provide insurance plans that offer contraceptive coverage to women in Connecticut. The letter was in response to the June Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case, in which the Court ruled that the contraceptive benefit in the Affordable Care Act violates the rights of the craft store, and that therefore the store can deny contraceptive coverage in employer-sponsored insurance plans.
Blumenthal asks the company to honor existing law in Connecticut, which mandates that all health insurance coverage offer the full range of contraceptive options approved by the Food and Drug Administration, despite the “legal discretion to limit health insurance coverage” provided by the Supreme Court decision.
Less than a month after the Hobby Lobby decision, the U.S. Senate introduced the Protect Women’s Health From Corporate Interference Act, which would prohibit employers from using any federal law as reason for denying coverage of contraception under the Affordable Care Act. As Rewire has previously reported, Democrats in both the House and Senate have been vocally opposed to the Court’s ruling.
In the letter, Blumenthal, who is a sponsor of the Corporate Interference Act, points out that Connecticut has been at the forefront of protecting women’s access to contraception. In a 1965 ruling, Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court found that “state law prohibiting the sale of contraceptives violated the constitutional rights of women.” The Court’s ruling in that case influenced their later decision in Roe v. Wade.
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Blumenthal’s letter is a plea on behalf of Connecticut women to maintain the right to “choose the most appropriate healthcare services after consulting with their healthcare provider” and for Hobby Lobby to “do the right thing” for its employees with regard to contraceptive access.
“Religious liberty is about individual’s right to practice their own religion, not the right of bosses to impose religious beliefs on employees,” Blumenthal writes.