Health Care Reform

Statement by Rep. Jan Schakowsky on Supreme Court Decision on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

Washington, DC—(ENEWSPF)—June 30, 2014. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. case today. The Court decided that closely-held, for-profit corporations can deny their employees access to contraceptives based on the corporations’ religious objections. Rep. Jan Schakowsky released the following statement on the decision:

I am extremely disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. The Supreme Court took the egregious action to grant closely-held, for-profit corporations rights that only people should possess.  Making this more disturbing is that the Court stated that for-profit corporations can exercise religious beliefs to deny women coverage for contraceptives but not exercise them to deny coverage for other basic health services like vaccines and blood transfusions. 

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The American people should be appalled at the Court’s willingness to allow corporations to discriminate against the 99 percent of women who use contraceptives at some point in their lives.  By finding that vaccines and blood transfusions – and not contraceptives – must be covered despite religious objections, the Court is saying that women’s health services are different and do not deserve the same consideration as other basic health services.

Today’s decision also undermines the benefits that employees work for each day.  Allowing for-profit corporations to exclude contraceptives from employees’ health benefits is essentially a pay cut for women who use contraception.  We would not allow employers to stop women from using their earnings to purchase contraceptives but today’s decision allows corporations to place such a restriction on their health benefits.

This decision also opens the door for more corporations to deny Americans’ benefits under that law that conflict with the corporations’ religious beliefs.  Hobby Lobby is just the tip of the iceberg.  More than 40 lawsuits have been filed by closely-held corporations like Hobby Lobby to deny women coverage for contraceptives and I expect more will be filed to deny women coverage for other basic health services.  Today’s decision put at risk the health care needs and economic well-being of thousands and thousands of women that work for for-profit corporations.  What’s even scarier is that by not defining ‘closely-held corporations’, the Court opens the door to a broad group of corporations who could put additional women’s health at risk.

Despite today’s major setback, I will continue to work with my colleagues to stand up for women and their right to receive the care they need.



Summer and Fall at Prairie State College