Yesterday, Senator Democrats introduced proposed legislation known at the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act (Act) in an effort override the U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, which was previously discussed in our June 30th Alert.
The Act would reinstate the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive coverage obligations imposed on employers, requiring employers to provide such health insurance. The Act specifically is targeted at the Supreme Court’s 5-4Hobby Lobby decision, which held closely-held companies (those that are family-owned or have a limited number of shareholders) can exercise their freedom of religion protections to avoid paying for such contraceptive coverage. Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), one of the three Senators who introduced this legislation, explained that houses of worship and religious non-profits would remain exempt from providing contraceptive coverage under the Act.
The introduction of this legislation in the Senate follows the announcement by two House Democrats last week, indicating they would introduce similar bills in response to the Hobby Lobby decision. If the legislation were to pass the Senate, many experts anticipate it will fail in the Republican-controlled House.