Jun 30 2014
WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement after the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that some for-profit employers can now withhold contraceptive care from their employees’ health coverage based on their own religious beliefs.
“Today, the Supreme Court created a disturbing new precedent that gives for-profit employers the ability to influence the health care decisions of their female employees. Women’s health care decisions belong between the patient and her doctor, not the patient and her boss. The Supreme Court got it wrong, plain and simple.
“To be clear, the Affordable Care Act takes the critical step of closing some of the most egregious health insurance disparities that exist between women and men. For example, being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition. The Affordable Care Act also requires that for-profit companies choosing to provide health insurance to their employees must provide a minimum standard of insurance coverage for preventative health care services, which, among other things, includes prescription contraceptives. A panel of medical experts at the Institute of Medicine made this non-partisan, medically-sound decision because access to contraceptives is an essential element to improving the health of women. Moreover, expanding access to contraceptives is one of the best ways we can reduce unwanted pregnancies. If we really want to reduce the number of abortions in this country, one of the most proven ways is by making contraceptive coverage more readily available. In fact, studies have shown that increasing access to contraception coverage reduces abortion rates by up to 78 percent.
“The Supreme Court’s decision also disrupts the balance that exists in the Constitution that protects the religious freedom of individuals and religious institutions. Today, the Supreme Court has given for-profit corporations similar protections as non-profit religious organizations, and, in so doing, given unprecedented power to employers by ruling that their religious beliefs trump their employees’ medical needs. I find that deeply troubling.”