U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan held a news conference Friday in Raleigh with Planned Parenthood officials and supporters, officially to rally support for a bill meant to bypass the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling.
But it was also an appearance during campaign season in which she underlined her stance on women’s access to no-cost contraceptive coverage from their employers.
“Let me be very clear: What kind of birth control a female employee uses is not her boss’s business,” Hagan said. “… I know that women in North Carolina are not going to stand for it and I’m not going to, either.”
This week a bill sponsored by 37 Democratic senators to preserve that coverage under the federal health-care law was blocked by Republicans. The bill could be brought up again, but Democrats are a few votes short of the 60 they need to force a final vote.
Hagan said she hoped public pressure might change a few votes, and said she would continue to push for the coverage.
Titled the Protect Women’s Health from Corporate Interference Act, the bill is also referred to as the “Not My Boss’s Business Act.” It would prohibit employers from denying insurance coverage for contraceptives or any other medical treatment such as vaccines and blood transfusions, even if the employer objects to them on religious grounds.
“Employers who make their female employees pay out of pocket for contraceptives aren’t just imposing their personal beliefs,” Hagan said. “They’re also making it much more difficult for women to access important, potentially life-saving medical prescriptions and medical treatment.”
Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that closely held for-profit corporations don’t have to provide their employees with access to contraceptives without copays. The federal Affordable Care Act required contraceptives and other kinds of preventative services be covered without cost to employees.
Known as the Hobby Lobby ruling, for the company that sued over the federal health-care law, the ruling doesn’t affect North Carolina’s law that requires insurers that provide plans that cover prescription drugs or devices to also cover contraceptives. Hagan was one of the co-sponsors of that bill when she was a member of the state Senate in 1999.