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Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA) and Mark Udall (D-CO) spoke on the Senate floor to start debate on the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, also referred to as the Not My Boss’s Business Act.  Their bill would restore the contraceptive coverage requirement guaranteed by the Affordable Care Act, but put in jeopardy by the recent misguided Supreme Court decision in Hobby Lobby, and protect coverage of other health services from employers who want to impose their beliefs on their employees by denying benefits. The Not My Boss’s Business Act, cosponsored by 44 Senators and endorsed by over 120 organizations, is expected to receive a vote in the Senate tomorrow afternoon. Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and Louise Slaughter (D-NY) have introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives.

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks:

“Mr. President—I come to the floor today with the senior Senator from Colorado to kick off debate on our bill, the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act. Or, as we like to call it—the Not My Boss’s Business Act.

“And I want to start off by asking my colleagues a few basic questions.

“First—who should be in charge of a woman’s health care decisions?

“Should it be a woman—making those decisions with her partner, her doctor, and her faith?

“Or should it be her boss—making those decisions for her based on his own religious beliefs?

“To me and to the vast majority of people across the country—the answer to these questions is obvious.

“Women should call the shots when it comes to their health care decisions.

“Not their boss. Not their government. Not anyone else. Period.

“But Mr. President—we are here today because five men on the Supreme Court disagree.

“Five men on the Supreme Court decided that there should be a group of women across America who are required to ask their boss for permission to access basic health care.

“Five men on the Supreme Court decided that a corporation should have more rights than the women it employs.

“Five men on the Supreme Court rolled back the clock on women across America—but we are here today because we cannot allow that to stand.

“People across the country think the Supreme Court was dead wrong on this decision—and we are here today to be their voice.

“Mr. President, when we passed health care reform, we made sure that every woman has access to basic health care — including contraception, which is used, or will be used, by 99% of women across the country.

“And when 58 percent of women use birth control for purposes other than pregnancy prevention–including managing endometriosis, ovarian cysts, and other medical conditions–we knew this provision would have a sweeping impact on women across America.

“In fact, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, 30 million women nationally are already eligible for this benefit.

“When the law is fully implemented, 47 million women nationally will have access to no-pay birth control thanks to the Affordable Care Act.

“And thanks to this benefit, women have already saved $483 million—and that’s just in the last year alone.

“Mr. President, contraception was included as a required preventive service in the Affordable Care Act on the recommendation of the independent, nonprofit Institute of Medicine and other medical experts because it is essential to the health of women and families.

“And after many years of research, we know ensuring access to effective birth control has a direct impact on improving the lives of women and families in America.

“We have been able to directly link it to declines in maternal and infant mortality, reduced risk of ovarian cancer, better overall health outcomes for women, and far fewer unintended pregnancies and abortions—which is a goal we all should share.

“Because we all know that improving access to birth control is good health policy and good economic policy.

“We know it will mean healthier women, healthier children and healthier families.

“And we know it will save money for businesses and consumers.

“But with their ruling setting a potentially dangerous precedent, the Supreme Court has not only inserted a woman’s boss into her health care decisions — in many cases, they have given him the final word.

“Mr. President–in the aftermath of this decision, women across America turned to Congress and demanded we fix this.

“And it’s not just women who want Congress to act.

“People across the country understand that if bosses can deny birth control—they can deny vaccines, HIV treatment, or other basic health care services for employees or their dependents.

And I think what men across America understand is that it’s not just female employees impacted—it’s their wives and their daughters who share their health care plan too? 

“As the ink was still drying on Justice Alito’s misguided opinion in this case… I made an unwavering commitment to do everything I could to protect women’s access to health care —since the five male justices of the Supreme Court decided they wouldn’t.

“That is why I worked with my partner, the senior Senator from Colorado, to introduce this bill.

“And I am proud that in the days since, we’ve received such strong support from people across the country.

“Our straightforward and simple legislation would ensure that no CEO or corporation can come between you and your guaranteed access to health care–period.

“This shouldn’t be a controversial issue.

“The only controversy about birth control is the fact that it’s 2014 and women across America are still fighting for this basic health care.

“Mr. President–the data is clear.

“Ensuring access to contraceptive coverage isn’t just the right thing to do—it’s also a critical part of making sure that women and their families have a fair shot.

“In the 21st century women and their families shouldn’t be held back by outdated policies and unfair practices.

“And it’s not just about access to contraception--
 

“This includes pay equity, access to child care, a higher minimum wage—and it absolutely includes the right to make their own medical and religious decisions without being dictated to or limited by their employers.

“The bottom line here is: Women use birth control for a host of reasons–none of which should require a permission slip from their boss.

“So I thank Leader Reid for moving this bill to the floor so quickly and for his commitment to getting this done.

“Because women across the country are expecting action—and they don’t want to wait.

“And as we move forward on this bill this week, I hope enough Republicans can put proven science over their partisan politics to join us and revoke this court-issued license to discriminate–and return the right of Americans to make their own decisions, about their own health care, and their own bodies.

“I’d like to thank Senator Udall once again for his work with me on this commonsense and bicameral legislation.

“I’d also like to thank the members of the House Pro-Choice Caucus–who have introduced their companion legislation.

“And I sincerely hope our Republican colleagues–on both sides of the Capitol–will join us.

“And for those of them who don’t—for those Republicans who have already said they oppose our legislation…I am very interested in hearing their answers to the questions I posed a few minutes ago.

“Do they think bosses should be in charge of a woman’s health care decision?

“Do they think women should have to ask their boss permission for health care used by 99 percent of other women?

“And do they think that we, as a country, should start down the path where CEOs and corporations can start making decisions for all kinds of health care for their employees?

“Mr. President—women across the country will be watching this debate—and I think they will be very interested in seeing who is on their side.

“Thank you Mr. President, I yield the floor.”