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updated: 7/10/2014 1:42 PM

Democrats offer pushback against Hobby Lobby ruling

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  • Brad Schneider

    Brad Schneider

  • Tammy Duckworth

    Tammy Duckworth


U.S. Reps. Brad Schneider of Deerfield and Tammy Duckworth of Hoffman Estates are among the Democrats nationally behind legislation aimed at upending the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby contraception decision, but the plan could face a tough path forward.

The legislation introduced Wednesday would require most employers that have group health plans to cover contraception. The proposal could get a vote soon in the Democrat-controlled U.S. Senate.

"A woman's health care decisions should be made between her and her doctor, not dictated by the personal beliefs of her employer," Schneider said in a statement.

But some Republicans have praised the court decision and could block a vote in the House, which is controlled by the GOP.

Schneider is facing Republican Bob Dold of Kenilworth in a widely watched campaign for re-election in the 10th District. Dold said the ruling creates more uncertainty around the new Affordable Care Act.

"I have always believed that a woman's healthcare choices must be left between her and her doctor and that all women ought to have access to the contraceptive care they and their physician believe is best," Dold said in a statement. "I also strongly believe we must preserve the constitutional right to religious liberty for all Americans."

In the court case targeted by Democrats, the justices ruled 5-4 that closely held companies such as the craft-store chain Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. can refuse on religious grounds to provide employees with contraceptive coverage.

The contraceptive requirement was part of Obama's 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Senate Democrats nationwide, vying to retain control of the chamber in November's midterm election, are touting their support for legislation requiring for-profit companies to provide insurance coverage for contraceptives.

The court decision had an immediate impact in the suburbs.

A ruling that followed shortly afterward said private Wheaton College doesn't have to fill out a particular form registering its religious objections to offering employees contraception.

Some religious groups and colleges object to the form because it then enables their insurers to pay for birth control.

• Daily Herald news services contributed to this report.

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