By Mary Kuhlman
Ohio News Connection
COLUMBUS - Legislation soon will be introduced in Ohio to prevent companies from interfering in their female employees’ health-related decisions.
State Rep. Kathleen Clyde, D-Kent, said the “Not My Boss’ Business Act” is meant to counter the recent Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision that allows some companies to deny insurance coverage of birth control for workers, based on the religious beliefs of the corporation’s owners.
“This bill is very important to fight back against the Hobby Lobby decision,” she said, “which elevated corporations’ rights over those of individuals and their personal health-care choices.”
The legislation would prevent employers in Ohio from discriminating against women based on their reproductive health-care decisions, and would require employers’ health insurance to cover contraception.
Clyde is the lead sponsor of the bill in the House, and Sens. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland, and Charleta Tavares, D-Columbus, are sponsors in the Senate. More than two dozen other states have similar laws on the books and this month, similar legislation was fast-tracked in the U.S. Senate but did not gain enough votes to move forward.
Clyde said millions of American women use birth control, and many for reasons unrelated to preventing pregnancy. In her view, it is sexual discrimination to not cover it, and she called the Hobby Lobby decision “out of touch,” but said it isn’t the only example.
“There’s been cases where women have been fired from their job because they chose to get pregnant using in vitro fertilization, for example, or because they were single mothers,” she said. “I can’t believe things like that still happen in 2014.”
Hobby Lobby sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over a mandate in the Affordable Care Act that requires businesses to pay for their employees’ birth control as part of health insurance coverage. The company’s stand was that its owners consider some forms of contraception as abortion, and argued the Affordable Care Act violated those religious beliefs.