Wicker Votes Against Democrat Bill to Reverse Hobby Lobby Ruling

Miss. Senator Cosponsors Alternative Legislation to Safeguard Religious Freedom, Protect Women’s Access to Contraceptives

July 16, 2014

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, R-Miss., today voted against a Democrat-sponsored bill to reverse a recent Supreme Court ruling striking down a government mandate for employers to provide emergency contraceptives to their employees.

“The federal government doesn’t have the right to force Americans to violate their faith,” Wicker said. “The bill put forward by Senate Democrats is nothing more than a political charade, designed to falsely suggest to the American people that employers can deny their employees access to birth control. If enacted, this legislation would trample on the rights of people of faith. It would nullify the Court’s finding that closely-held, family-owned businesses should not be forced by the federal government to pay for emergency contraceptives if it would violate their owners’ sincerely held religious beliefs.”

The Washington Post’s Fact Checker recently stated, “[T]he court ruling does not outlaw contraceptives, does not allow bosses to prevent women from seeking birth control and does not take away a person’s religious freedom.” It goes on to say that “…in many cases the Democratic response has been untethered from those basis facts.”

The President’s health-care law, enacted in 2010, required employers to offer insurance plans that cover certain forms of contraceptives, including abortifacients. Two family-owned companies, Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Wood Specialties, argued that the mandate violated their religious beliefs. The Court ruled, by a vote of 5-4, that this mandate violated the protections provided by the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act,” which was passed both chambers of Congress by near-unanimous votes and signed into law by President Clinton.

Wicker is a cosponsor of the “Preserving Religious Freedom and a Woman’s Access to Contraception Act.” The bill would safeguard religious freedom and enable women to make health-care decisions free from Obamacare’s mandates and restrictions. It is sponsored by Senators Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Deb Fischer, R-Neb., and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Specifically, the “Preserving Religious Freedom and a Woman’s Access to Contraception Act” would:

Clarify the Law: The legislation would reaffirm that the Supreme Court’s decision in Hobby Lobby did nothing to change a woman’s ability to access birth control and other contraception.  If she chooses, a woman is free to purchase contraception regardless of the views of her employer.

Increase Access: The legislation includes a Sense of the Senate that the Food and Drug Administration should study whether contraceptives can be made available without a prescription to adults, ensuring a scientific evaluation on the safety and efficacy of contraception.

Increase Affordability: The legislation repeals the Obamacare mandate limiting the use of Health Savings Accounts and Flexible Spending Accounts to medications that require a prescription, giving a woman more freedom to purchase the over-the-counter medication she needs.