Udall is slated to introduce Wednesday a bill that would compel for-profit employers to pay for coverage of all forms of birth control mandated under the Affordable Care Act, even if some of those contraceptives violate the religious convictions of business owners, according to multiple media outlets.
The bill would overturn the Supreme Court’s decision last week in the Hobby Lobby case, but it could also rev up the Democratic Party’s flagging campaign fortunes by doubling down on the “war on women” strategy.
“The U.S. Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision opened the door to unprecedented corporate intrusion into our private lives,” Udall said in a statement on the Huffington Post. “Coloradans understand that women should never have to ask their bosses for a permission slip to access common forms of birth control or other critical health services.”
Udall is skipping the president’s speech Wednesday at Cheesman Park in Denver, but he’s expected to join the president afterward at a private fundraiser. Udall spokesman Chris Harris cited “logistics” in an interview with the Denver Post.
Republicans said the problem was more likely Obama’s diving approval rating, which sunk from 49 to 45 percent among Colorado voters in a Rasmussen Reports poll released last week.
“It’s hardly surprising that Gov. [John] Hickenlooper and Sen. Udall are doing everything they can to run away from the worst president since World War II,” said Colorado Republican Party Chair Ryan Call in a statement.
Obamacare mandates insurance coverage for 20 forms of birth control. Hobby Lobby’s owners objected to covering four of those on the grounds that they act as abortifacients, specifically the intrauterine device (IUD); an implant inserted in the arm, and two “morning-after” pills.
Democrats have insisted that failing to offer cost-sharing insurance coverage for those four contraceptives amounts to denying women access to health care, even though all four products are available for purchase without insurance.
In a statement on the Hobby Lobby website, the Green family says they “have no objection to the other 16 FDA-approved contraceptives required by the law that do not interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg.”
“They [the Greens] provide coverage for such contraceptives under their health care plan,” says the statement. “Additionally, the four objectionable drugs and devices are widely available and affordable, and employees are free to obtain them.”
Udall is introducing the bill along with Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington. Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette is one of several Democrats expected to introduce the House version of the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid vowed Tuesday to fight the Hobby Lobby decision, calling it “outrageous.”
“The one thing we are going to do during this work period, sooner rather than later, is to ensure that women’s lives are not determined by virtue of five white men,” Reid told reporters at a press briefing.
As several outlets pointed out afterward, Justice Clarence Thomas, who voted with the 5-4 majority in the Hobby Lobby case, is black.