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NM 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

SANTA FE, N.M. - Family-planning advocates in New Mexico 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.

Vicki Cowart, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains, says the ruling could force Hobby Lobby employees to pay for birth control out of their own pockets.

"Birth control is expensive," says Cowart, "and if you're working a minimum-wage job, frankly, it can be a little tough to manage the cost."

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.

Cowart says contraception is a vital issue for the vast majority of women, and despite the Supreme Court ruling, women working at Hobby Lobby and any other company are guaranteed no-cost contraception under the ACA.

"Ninety-nine percent of all women who have been sexually active have used birth control, have contracepted at some point in their lives," says Cowart. "So it is an absolutely normal, mainstream kind of health care."

Cowart adds women can always access birth control through organizations such as Planned Parenthood.

Troy Wilde, Public News Service - NM