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Public Statements

Executive Session

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. MARKEY. Madam President, I rise to speak on an issue of vital importance to all who value true liberty in the United States.

Last month the Supreme Court issued its decision in the Hobby Lobby case. In 2010, in the Citizens United case, the Court said corporations have a First Amendment right to participate in elections. In the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Court took it a step further and said that since a corporation can be a person, it can also have religious views and because a corporation is a person, it can impose its religious beliefs on an employee and deny a woman insurance that protects her health by providing contraception. So the folly of the Supreme Court has come full circle, where an actual person will be denied their rights because the views of a corporation have been given priority under the U.S. Constitution as interpreted by this Supreme Court.

Instead of ``we the people,'' it is now ``I the CEO of a corporation'' who has the right to exercise their constitutional privileges as interpreted by this Supreme Court that truncates the right of individual women in America to exercise theirs.

The Supreme Court majorities have continued to extend our basic constitutional rights--the inalienable rights held by individuals--to corporations. Corporations are not people.

Supporters of the Hobby Lobby ruling have accused Democrats of hyperbole. They say we are making the Hobby Lobby case seem more dire than it truly is. The corporate personhood supporters say the ruling doesn't mean women can't use the contraception of their choice, just that the insurance provided by their employer doesn't have to cover it or they say the ruling doesn't mean a boss is imposing his or her religious views on their employees. That is just wrong. It says that the boss doesn't have to subsidize health care that violates the boss's religious views.

What happens when the religious views of a CEO are imposed on the real life of a working woman?

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Mr. MARKEY. In real life working women earn their insurance coverage. It is part of their pay, and they depend on insurance to pay for their health care--including contraception--for themselves and their families. If that employer's choice of insurance doesn't pay for a particular type of contraception, a woman will be forced to give up her right to use it.

If one form of contraception is--just as Ginsburg explained in her dissent--$1,000, and insurance won't cover even a penny, a working woman is going to be forced to make medical decisions based on the religion her employer practices, not on what she and her doctor determine is best for her from a medical perspective. The religion of the employer trumps the recommendation of a physician to a woman, and this is just a step that changes the whole relationship between an individual and their country.

If a corporation's insurance doesn't cover any contraception because all contraceptives violate the employer's religious beliefs, then their employee's religious views are especially burdened, and she will have to pay for contraception out of her own pocket. Keep in mind that the average woman makes 77 cents on the dollar to a man, but if you are an African-American woman, then it is 66 cents on the dollar, and Latina women earn 59 cents on the dollar compared to what a white man makes in the United States of America.

In the Hobby Lobby case, the Supreme Court transformed religion from a personal choice into a corporate decision, and the corporate world--in real life--can impose its religious views on its employees. That is why I am an original cosponsor of S. 2578, the Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act, or as supporters call it the Not My Boss's Business Act.

Let's be clear. Corporations are not people, period. For-profit corporations do not have religious views. For-profit corporations should not be able to deny their employees critical health care or force American taxpayers to pay for it because of the owner's personal religious views.

The Not My Boss's Business Act will fix the Hobby Lobby decision by making it illegal for corporations to deny their employees health care benefits--including contraception--that are required to be covered by Federal law. It will protect employees from having their health care restricted by bosses who want to impose their religious belief on others.

I urge my colleagues to vote to restore true liberty by voting to pass S. 2578. I thank all of my colleagues.

I yield back the remainder of my time.

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