July 11, 2014
A law sponsored by New York Senator Charles Schumer became the basis of last week's ruling by the US Supreme Court. It said companies like Hobby Lobby can deny health coverage for contraceptives to employees.
Back in 1993 when Schumer served in the House, he introduced the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court used that law to rule that four contraceptives, including two versions of the morning after pill, need not be covered by an employer's health insurance, if they violate the religious faith of private business owners. Schumer says that’s not the bill he crafted.
“Without a doubt the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was written to apply only to individuals not corporations," says Schumer.
Now Schumer is trying to overturn the Court’s ruling with legislation he says will protect female workers.
“The Supreme Court went way beyond the bounds of the law’s intent," says Schumer. "Applying this case more broadly to corporations is a perversion of its original intent and only serves to put women’s health care choices in the hands of her boss."
The legislation backed by Schumer still allows religious institutions to opt out of providing health coverage for contraceptives. The bill doesn’t have a single Republican sponsor. Many in the GOP praise the Court for upholding, what they say is, religious freedom.