Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) criticized his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), for suggesting that the “struggle for equality is over” for women.
“The only things missing from the Republican Leader’s declaration are an aircraft carrier and a large 'MISSION ACCOMPLISHED' sign hanging in the background,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “It isn’t.
Reid used the recent Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby as an example of inequality for women. The Court ruled in a 5-4 decision that employers don’t have to provide contraceptive healthcare coverage for women if it goes against the owner's religious beliefs.
The Senate will hold the first procedural vote on S. 2578, a bill from Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) that would reverse that court decision.
“By passing the Not My Boss’ Business Act, the United States Senate can knock down a significant barrier for women’s equality,” Reid said. “Despite what Republicans say, we have a long way to go before women are equal under all aspects of the law.”
McConnell, the Senate minority leader, said Republicans would introduce a counter bill that would state employers cannot block any employee from obtaining legal forms of birth control on their own.
"We plan to introduce legislation this week that says no employer can block any employee from legal access to her FDA-approved contraceptives," McConnell said. “There’s no disagreement on that fundamental point."
McConnell accused Democrats of exaggerating the implications of the Supreme Court decision.
Under ObamaCare, employers were mandated to provide healthcare coverage for employees that included birth control for women. Hobby Lobby, a chain of craft stores, is owned by conservative Christians who argued that the employer mandate to provide basic healthcare options forced them to violate their religious principles.
The 5-4 court decision stated that the mandate violated the religious liberties of employers who don’t believe in the use of contraceptives.