Wednesday, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered remarks on the Senate floor highlighting the growing support for her bill with Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) to reverse the misguided Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision. Murray also discussed recent Republican efforts across the country to run from their record on women’s health. In July, Senate Republicans filibustered the Not My Boss’s Business Act, despite the nearly 99 percent of sexually active women who use birth control and the 7-in-10 Americans who support contraception coverage in health plans.
“As the ink was still drying on Justice Alito’s misguided opinion in the Hobby Lobby 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,” Murray said. “That is why I worked with my partner, the senior Senator from Colorado, to introduce the Not My Boss’s Business Act, to restore these lost benefits and protect women’s health care. And I am proud that in the months since, we’ve received such strong support from men and women across the country.”
Murray emphasized the importance of passing the bill.
“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 In the 21st century women and their families shouldn’t be held back by outdated policies and unfair practices.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 as I said here yesterday on the Senate floor — 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,” Murray stated.
“Unfortunately, Americans are most likely not surprised by what they’re seeing. This obstruction is coming from members of the same Party that has been threatening to subject women to invasive and degrading ultrasounds. The same Party that had candidates making outrageous statements about ‘legitimate rape’ and then defending those comments during their disastrous book tour. The same Party that, on Capitol Hill, in state houses across America, and in courtrooms at all levels – are actively attempting to block women’s ability to make their own decisions about their health. They have shown they’ll go to just about any length to limit access to care,” she added.
“This shouldn’t be a controversial issue,” she said. “…the only controversy about birth control is the fact that it’s 2014 and we are still fighting for this basic health care used by 99% of sexually active women.”
“I am extremely disappointed. I would have hoped our colleagues on the other side of the aisle would have maybe —just maybe— spent just a little time listening to the women in their states as they were home in August,” Murray added. “If they had, they would have heard the women across America asking Congress to fix the horrible decision that resulted from Hobby Lobby. 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 and their covered dependents.”
In fact, the move affects more than just women.
“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. 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,” she said.
Senators who opposed the bill were Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Daniel Coats (R-IN), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Michael B. Enzi (R-WY), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), Dean Heller (R-NV), John Hoeven (R-ND), James M. Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mike Lee (R-UT), John McCain (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), Rob Portman (R-OH), James E. Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Richard C. Shelby (R-AL), John Thune (R-SD), Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA), David Vitter (R-LA), and Roger F. Wicker (R-MS).
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) did not vote.
A full list of supporters is located here.
Watch the video of Murray’s full speech below.