Begich Statement on Supreme Court Decision Restricting Women’s Access to Birth Control
Bosses Should Not be Making Women’s Personal Health Care Choices
U.S. Senator Mark Begich released the following statement in response to today’s Supreme Court decision that struck down key components of a provision that guaranteed birth control access for women.
“I disagree with today’s Supreme Court decision. Bosses should not be able to prevent access to family planning and birth control for Alaska women. This is unacceptable. As Alaskans, we don't want the government intruding into our lives and telling us how to make personal decisions. Ninety-nine percent of women will use contraceptives at some point in their lives and this decision shows how out of touch the Supreme Court is with Alaskans,” said Begich. “A woman’s health care decisions should be between herself and in consultation with her doctor. I will continue to fight to protect all Alaskans’ right to privacy and that includes a women's right to make her own health care decisions.
Without birth control coverage in their health plan, Alaska women are at risk of not being able to get the health care that they and their doctor determine is best for them. In addition, women could face higher health costs than their male counterparts and other lost economic opportunities given that access to birth control has contributed to increased participation in the workforce.
IMS Institute on Health Care Informatics showed that last year women and families saved an average of $269 on their out-of-pocket costs on birth control. For Alaska’s working families, $40 a month for birth control can make the difference between buying a tank of gas or groceries for the week.
Today the Supreme Court issued an opinion in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell, in which for-profit companies challenged the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) guarantee that women receive health insurance coverage of birth control without cost-sharing.
Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood, are using religion to challenge the birth control coverage requirement in court. The Supreme Court ruling has now endowed corporations with religious “rights” under the constitution.
“I believe people, not corporations, have a right to practice their constitutional right to freedom of religion, but not at the expense of others,” said Begich. “Whether or not to use birth control is a woman’s personal choice and should be made by her in consultation health care professionals, not her boss.”