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Obamacare Birth Control Coverage Advocates Looking Past US Supreme Court Case

By Pat Loeb

WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) — US senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is suggesting there may be a way to continue to guarantee women access to birth control, despite yesterday’s US Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby case (see related story).

“I do believe we have the ability to do something about this,” Booker told KYW Newsradio today, saying he’ll be working with fellow Democrats to craft legislation that would restore the benefit the nation’s highest court just struck down.

The goal, says Booker, is “to insure that women are able to have full control over their health care decisions and what they choose to do remaining between them and their doctor, not them and their pharmacists, them and the religious beliefs of certain sectors of our society.”

Booker wasn’t specific about what such a law might include.

He notes that New Jersey has a contraceptive equity law — passed before the Affordable Care Act — that requires insurance cover birth control just like any other prescription, so the ruling may not apply to New Jersey employers. Delaware has a similar law but Pennsylvania does not.

“With our own contraceptive equity laws, we’re still examining the scope of what this might mean for New Jersey women,” says Jean LoCicero, head of the New Jersey chapter of the ACLU.

Meanwhile,  women’s health advocates are trying to figure out the full impact of the ruling.

Planned Parenthood was, as would be expected, outraged by the decision.  But it’s also not sure exactly who’s covered.

Dayle Steinberg, of the Philadelphia area chapter, says it’s not clear if women will be denied coverage for medical uses of contraceptives.

“Nearly 60 percent of women who use birth control pill use it for health reasons, to treat things like migraine headaches (or) premenstrual pain,” she notes.


More from Pat Loeb
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