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AZ Planned Parenthood Reacts to Justices' Hobby Lobby Ruling

PHOTO: Hobby Lobby will not have to pay for insurance coverage for certain contraception procedures for its employees following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued Monday. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court.
PHOTO: Hobby Lobby will not have to pay for insurance coverage for certain contraception procedures for its employees following a U.S. Supreme Court ruling issued Monday. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Supreme Court.
July 1, 2014

PHOENIX - Family-planning advocates in Arizona are reacting to Monday's U.S. Supreme Court ruling that favors Hobby Lobby in its objection, on religious grounds, to paying for insurance coverage for certain contraceptive procedures for its employees under the Affordable Care Act.

The five-to-four ruling determined companies do not have to cover the cost of the morning-after pill and intrauterine devices (IUDs) for their employees.

Bryan Howard, president of Planned Parenthood Arizona, says the ruling could force Hobby Lobby employees to pay for birth control out of their own pockets.

"That is a real hardship for working women," says Howard. "A woman earning minimum wage in this state is making just over $15,000 a year. Birth control alone can cost up to $1,000 a year."

Hobby Lobby sued the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services over the mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which requires businesses to pay for their employees' birth control. Hobby Lobby says it considers that equal to abortion. The retailer argued the ACA violated its religious beliefs, protected under federal law.

Brenda Thomas, CEO at Arizona Family Health Partnership, says despite the Supreme Court ruling women working at Hobby Lobby or any other company are guaranteed no-cost contraception under the ACA. She adds contraception is a vital issue for the vast majority of women.

"Surveys are saying 99 percent of women in their lifetime have used some form of birth control or another," says Thomas. "Fifty percent of all pregnancies are unplanned. Contraception is a really good way for us to help women that want to space and time their pregnancies."

Thomas adds that women can always access birth control through organizations such as Arizona Family Health Partnership and Planned Parenthood.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - AZ