Takano: Hobby Lobby Ruling Is ‘Misguided’

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WASHINGTON -The Supreme Court issued on June 30 its ruling in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby. The 5-4 decision ruled that closely held corporations could deny women access to contraception.

In response, Rep. Mark Takano (D-Riverside) issued the following statement:

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to give corporations say-so over women’s health coverage is misguided and I disagree with the ruling. The owners of Hobby Lobby or other closely held for-profit corporations should not be able to impose their personal religious beliefs on their employees and interfere with a woman’s access to contraception.

“In a prior ruling, the court permitted individual voices to be drowned out by unlimited political spending, and today, it has expanded the reach of corporations to supersede the right of women to make their own health decisions. I suspect that if the Hobby Lobby case had been about a corporation’s ability to stop men’s access to Viagra or Cialis, the male justices who took health care decisions away from women today would have ruled differently.”

Contraception is among a range of preventive services that must be provided at no extra charge under the health care law that President Barack Obama signed in 2010 and the Supreme Court upheld two years later. Hobby Lobby had sued over four contraceptives in the law.

Barbara Green, co-founder of Hobby Lobby, called the court’s decision a victory for “all who seek to live out their faith.”

Other Asian Pacific American members of Congress also criticized the decision.

Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii): “In yet another sharply divided 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case expanded a religious exemption to allow ‘closely held corporations’ to withhold contraceptive coverage for employees based on the religious beliefs of the owners.

“The Supreme Court based this decision on the fact that Hobby Lobby is a ‘closely held corporation,’ and therefore the religious liberty of the humans who own and control the corporation must be protected.

“While Hobby Lobby may be a ‘closely held corporation,’ it is hardly a mom-and-pop shop. Hobby Lobby has some 572 shops across the country and employs over 20,000 people.

“I disagree with the five justices’ interpretation of the applicable federal law and will join my colleagues to overturn this decision so that women who work for companies like Hobby Lobby will have access to health care coverage to which they are entitled.”

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento): “I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s ruling today that would allow corporations to withhold contraceptive care from their employees’ health coverage. Health decisions should be between a woman and her doctor, not her employer.

“The Affordable Care Act rightly puts women and families in control of their own health care by covering preventive care like cancer screenings, vaccines, and contraception, without copays or deductibles. This decision is a major step backwards in ensuring women are treated equally under the law and have access to the health care services they need and deserve.

“I remain committed to working with my colleagues in Congress and the administration to ensure that all women have access to the health care they want and need, including important preventive services.”

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.): “Today’s Hobby Lobby ruling is both disappointing for women and disappointing for our country. Congress, the Supreme Court and the administration should not be in the business of restricting access to health care for women.

“Access to affordable birth control is crucial to protecting the health of women and reducing unwanted pregnancies. 99 percent of sexually active American women have used contraception at some point in their lives and access to birth control has been shown to decrease abortion rates by up to 78 percent. Personal decisions about reproductive health should be based on a woman’s own conscience, religious beliefs and sound medical advice – not the whims of her employer or her legislators.”

Rep. Ami Bera (D-Rancho Cordova): “The Supreme Court’s decision today in the Hobby Lobby case sets a dangerous precedent by putting employers in charge of health care decisions for the people who work for them. As a doctor, I believe no one belongs coming between doctors and patients, not bosses, and not politicians. I’m very disappointed by today’s decision and I will continue to fight against interfering in the exam room.”

Rep. Judy Chu (D-Pasadena): “The court’s ruling is both disappointing and out of touch with reality. With 99 percent of women using contraception at some point in their lives, contraception has become essential health care. However, a panel of five men decided that a corporation’s interests come before a woman’s health care needs.

“Having control over one’s personal health decisions allow women to participate equally in society and in the workplace. While today’s decision may make it more difficult for some women to access birth control, we must continue fighting to ensure that all women have access to affordable contraception.”

On Jan. 28, Chu and 90 other House Democrats filed an amicus brief in support of the government’s case against Hobby Lobby.

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