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My Turn: Hobby Lobby ruling a threat to women’s health care



Too many women across New Hampshire are facing a new threat to their health care: Their employers can now deny coverage for birth control.

That’s the immediate impact of the Supreme Court decision a few days ago in what’s called the “Hobby Lobby” case. The court’s decision allows certain employers to deny health insurance coverage for health care services – like contraception – that they find objectionable based on their religious beliefs.

I disagree strongly with the court’s decision, and I’m going to work with my Senate colleagues to take action that will protect women’s access to birth control and other health care services.

Women should be making decisions about their health care with their doctors, not their employers. The Supreme Court decision jeopardizes access to contraception for countless women. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in writing the dissenting opinion, concluded that this decision “would deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage.”

That’s not right.

And we don’t yet know the full impact of the decision. Justice Ginsburg clearly expressed the danger that employers with different views could refuse a wide range of health care services.

In her dissent, Justice Ginsburg asked, “Would the exemption . . . extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations(?)….”

In 1999, when I was governor, I was proud to sign a law in New Hampshire requiring insurance companies to cover contraception. It had broad bipartisan support and passed in the House with votes from 121 Democrats and 120 Republicans. And for more than a decade, without any controversy, this law protected women’s access to contraception.

Unfortunately, in the past several years, New Hampshire’s commonsense way to protect women’s health has been threatened. Blocking access to contraception will have negative economic and public health effects our country cannot afford.

Medical experts have directly linked contraceptive use to declining rates in maternal and infant mortality, reduced risk of ovarian cancer and better overall health for women – not to mention far fewer unintended pregnancies and abortions. Those are goals we can all support.

I have worked for more than two decades to protect women’s rights and expand access to affordable health care, including birth control. And I believe strongly that every woman deserves the right to make her own private medical decisions without interference from anyone – not her boss, not politicians and not the Supreme Court. I will keep working and fighting to protect these rights and make sure women can get the health care they need.

Legacy Comments10

Thank you Senator Shaheen to have the courage to stand up for the rights of American women. This is exactly why every vote counts. And it is exactly why I will never support a republican.

Sorry Kelly - you are emotionally misinformed - absolutely nobody is trampling on your rights - what you want is for somebody else to pay for them. Rights are instilled by god - Govt is formed to guarantee those god given rights - not hand them out.

This narrow ruling is making for amusing theatrics from the democrats from all around the country. democrats and Shaheen's phony baloney theatrics are 100% of the problem in America today - You now have in front of you a pure partisan political candidate repeating the talking points straight from her democrat masters - If that is the way a reader sees that the country moves forward by all means vote for more of the gridlock problem - democrats false political blather

Five Catholic MEN follow the Pope's guidelines and agree with evangelicals they did not have to pay for contraceptive methods. Will Hobby Lobby willingly pay for health coverage of the children they force employees to have (because the evangelicals and Pope want more mold-able minds to brainwash and tithe). Wait til those Five Catholic Men say that health coverage doesn't apply to Viagra!!

Hey Walter, checked my policy and there are 5 drugs not covered and that is one of them, so no worries. 5 Catholic men? Harry Reid said it was 5 white men.....OOPS! Harry.

Senator, no one is denying health care or prescriptions for birth control to women. Specifically, four "morning after" style prescriptions are considered immoral by Hobby Lobby and they have no issue with the other 16 birth control medications. This is an election year and I realize that once again, you and others in your party will attempt to create this false "war on women" scenario. Your hope is to paint others as being against birth control and to continue to paint those who object as "extremist". We get it. Perhaps you should focus on a couple of other issues which are and will further harm citizens of New Hampshire. Your unbridled support of Obamacare is understandable as your naivete of economics is evident. But you also made the comment that you can keep your present insurance "if you are willing to pay more". Then that takes us to the letter you signed, along with other Senator's in your party asking the IRS to target groups that disagree with your political standpoint. The ongoing IRS hearings are the result of a "politician" (Jeanne Shaheen) targeting citizens that she represents. Jeanne, many of the people you targeted are right here in New Hampshire. Few of us are also impressed by how much you are fundraising from outside sources and other states, to hold onto a seat in the Senate that pays $175,000. A constant from progressives and Democrats is that the government needs to stay out of our bedrooms, arguably I might add completely out of our private lives entirely. Yet you wrote: "I believe strongly that every woman deserves the right to make her own private medical decisions without interference from anyone – not her boss, not politicians and not the Supreme Court". Perhaps the government should stay out of this Supreme Court decision as well. Since when is it the responsibility of everyone to pay for birth control for women? Do choice not start long before the morning after pill.......? I think so.

They specifically objected to IUD's which I don't think anyone considers equivalent to morning after pills.

Exactly. They oblject to IUDs because, presumably, they believe that a pregnancy (and life) begins at conception, and one of the ways that IUDs work is to make the womb inhospitable to implantation. They ignore the fact that the primary way the IUD works is as a spermacide, which prevents fertilization in the first place. They also blindly ignore the fact that many, many women choose an IUD to treat heavy menstrual bleeding, as an alternative to uterine ablation, which is the only other way, right now, deal with the issue for women over 35. Birth control pills are not recommended for older women. Uterine ablation basically burns away the entire lining of the uterus, resulting in permanent sterility. The effect is the same as from an IUD - a fertilized egg will not be able to implant. Does this mean HL will go after ablation next?

You seem to know a lot about this FOF and you know 4 women who share this information with you. Again, too much information.

No mention of whether Shaheen believes this is constitutional or not. I suspect not...and on what grounds? "its not right"....based on what????

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