Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked a bill that would have protected women’s right to make their own health care decisions. In the 56-43 vote – four short of the 60 needed – only three Republicans supported this basic protection for women.
Although the vast majority of American women use birth control at some point in their lives, many women without insurance could not afford the method that would work best for them. The Affordable Care Act guaranteed that health insurance would fully cover the cost of contraception. A recent Supreme Court decision took back that guarantee, telling women they could only be covered if their bosses said it was ok.
“The court was wrong and the Senate Republicans are wrong,” Sen. Bernie Sanders said. “Bosses should not be able to impose their religious beliefs on their employees. Bosses should not be able to deny insurance covered birth control to their female employees. Women should make their own health care decisions, not their employers.
“At a time when tens of millions of women use birth control, there is no valid reason to restrict a woman’s access to safe, widely-used preventive services simply because her employer does not approve of what should be her private medical decisions.”
The Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act would have ensured that employers cannot interfere in their employees’ decisions about contraception or other health services.