COLUMBUS, Ohio (WSPD) -- State lawmakers are trying to force businesses to include contraceptives in their health care plans despite a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby.
Justices ruled that some corporations cannot be required to provide insurance coverage for contraception methods that would violate the religious beliefs of company owners. It's a decision that has angered Democrats who have vowed to find ways around it.
“We are introducing this legislation to protect the health care decisions of women and their health providers. Physicians are best able to decide appropriate health care and prescriptions needed by their patients. Employers should not be able to selectively decide which care or prescriptions can be given to whom,” said Sen. Charleta Tavares, a Columbus Democrat.
The Not My Boss’s Business Act will prohibit employers from excluding birth control from coverage and from discriminating against an employee based on reproductive health decisions.
“Women can’t afford these recent attacks on this very basic part of their preventive health care, not when the costs of some birth control methods are as much as a minimum wage worker’s monthly take-home pay. It is not fair to target medicine taken only by women for exclusion from basic health coverage,” said Rep. Kathleen Clyde, a Kent Democrat who will be introducing the bill in the House.
Rashida Manuel, a woman from Cincinnati, told reporters at a Statehouse news conference that she uses birth control as more than just a contraceptive.
“I’ve had two surgeries in the last few years because of my polycystic ovarian syndrome, and birth control pills are the preventative care that I need to ensure my body functions at its best,” said Manuel. “I’m more than willing to share my story, but I shouldn’t have to. My medical conditions are not my boss’s business-they’re mine and my doctor’s.”
The measure also has the support of some in the religious community.
“When we force women into deeper poverty or force them into a situation in which they must rely on an employer’s religious beliefs in order to make decisions about their own health care, we are not being kind,” said the Reverend Kate Shaner, Minister of Missions at the First Community Church in Columbus.
“The thought that my daughters and your daughters would have their reproductive decisions made by an employer instead of themselves in consultation with their families, their clergy and their God seems archaic and inhumane at best.”
The bill would have to make it through a Republican dominated Ohio General Assembly and be signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich to become law. If that happened, Ohio would join 28 other states with similar laws on the books.