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Senate Filibuster of Hobby Lobby Fix Bill Shows Continuing Disregard for Women's Health

Senate Filibuster of Hobby Lobby Fix Bill Shows Continuing Disregard for Women's Health

Following the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hobby Lobby almost three weeks ago, Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) and Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) introduced the “Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act” (S. 2578/H.R. 5051).

This bill was crafted in the aftermath of Hobby Lobby to ensure that all people will continue to access all kinds of medical needs and services whether their employer might have a religious objection or not. Additionally, it maintains the contraception mandate’s accommodation and exemption for religious non-profits and for houses of worship.

Yesterday, this legislation came before the Senate, and was filibustered in a 56-43 vote. In response to this disappointing outcome, Rabbi David Saperstein released this statement:

This bill was an important step towards lifting the obstacles many American women will now face in accessing contraceptive coverage as a result of the Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. The women of America deserve more than to have their rights thwarted by a filibuster, and we hope that the Senate will revisit this legislation in the coming weeks and months. We now call urgently on the leaders in the House of Representatives to bring this bill to a vote as soon as possible.

In the weeks following the dismaying ruling in Hobby Lobby, we commend the Senate and House for taking swift action to ensure that women do not lose access to critical contraceptive care because of their employers’ religious objection. We note that this bill maintains the accommodation and exemption for religious non-profits and houses of worship, acknowledging the importance of balancing individual rights and religious freedom. As supporters of a robust interpretation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and as long-time champions of women’s equality, we will continue to work with our partners to ensure that our nation remains a beacon of religious liberty, and that women’s health is never compromised.

See the full statement here.

The aftermath of this important Supreme Court decision has shown that the ruling will have far-reaching impact across a range of social justice priorities. We will continue to follow legislative attempts to ameliorate the decision. In the meantime, be sure to check out our resources on this case.

Sarah Greenberg is the Assistant Legislative Director at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, where she was an Eisendrath Legislative Assistant in 2013-2014. Sarah graduated in 2013 from Cornell University, and is originally from New York City.

Sarah Greenberg