Lawmakers in Minnesota introduced legislation earlier this week in response to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling from last year. In that case, the Supreme Court allowed some for-profit employers to discriminate against female employees by refusing to provide contraception coverage.
Authors of the Minnesota bill, called the Contraception Health Equity and Employee Rights (CHEER) Act, including DFL Rep. Erin Murphy and Sen. Sandy Pappas, said they heard from concerned Minnesotans–both men and women–that the SCOTUS ruling has repercussions for women’s health, families and their bank accounts.
Rep. Murphy emphasized the ruling’s impact on our state:
Since the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling came down, we’ve seen employers limiting coverage in Minnesota…This is an issue that affects Minnesotans to their core and they are paying attention. Minnesotans deserve to know we’re prepared to make women’s health a priority this session.
The CHEER Act would allow Minnesota women to have access to contraception regardless of where they work.
In the absence of a solution to the Hobby Lobby decision, Minnesota women will have to pay more for medication to prevent pregnancy and treat serious conditions. Recent rulings in the state have already allowed employers to limit coverage and create additional obstacles for women to gain access to these types of treatment.
The notion that an employer’s personal religious beliefs can trump an employee’s access to contraception is misguided, and that line of thinking demands legislative action. It’s wrong to deny women’s access to contraceptive coverage due to the ideology of her workplace.
A woman’s health care decisions should be choices she makes for herself, not ones that her boss makes for her.