Planned Parenthood, Coakley Blast Baker for Hobby Lobby Comments
Thursday, July 10, 2014
The Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 vote that for-profit organizations can claim religious freedom to avoid a mandate to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requiring them to provide contraception to their employees.
“The Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby ruing denigrated women by placing their health care needs behind the personal beliefs of their bosses,” said Martha Walz, President of the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Fund of Massachusetts. “When Charlie Baker said that the ruling ‘doesn't matter’ to him because it doesn't affect women in Massachusetts, he revealed two things: a lack of knowledge and a sad disregard for women. Charlie Baker's comments also reveal his character. He doesn't care about all women. Massachusetts needs a leader who has understanding and compassion for all women, not just some women.”
According to Baker, the ruling “doesn’t matter” to him because in Massachusetts it “doesn’t change a thing.” Because of these comments, many who support women’s rights in Massachusetts are calling him out, saying that Baker is out of touch with women’s issues.
“It’s been a tough month for women. From our safety to our reproductive rights, the Supreme Court has been rolling back the progress we’ve made,” said Coakley. “Then, yesterday, Republican Charlie Baker said that the Hobby Lobby decision “doesn’t matter.” It matters as long as any woman is unable to access reproductive care because of her employer. It matters because it is unacceptable that, in 2014, we’re moving backward when it comes to equality for women.”
After the backlash from Coakley, Planned Parenthood, and others, Baker admits that he misspoke yesterday as a small segment of Massachusetts could be affected by the Hobby Lobby ruling.
As of 2002, Massachusetts has had laws in place mandating that insurance plans cover contraception. Because this law only covers employers that are a church or a qualified church-controlled organization, Baker says the ruling will only affect a very small size of people in Massachusetts.
"I have always, and will as Governor, support women's right to access comprehensive health care and I am glad that Massachusetts has for more than a decade required insurers to provide contraceptive coverage,” said Baker. “This issue is immensely important to me which is why I am deeply concerned that my statement yesterday may have led some to believe otherwise. I will strive to make my lifelong commitment to women's health crystal clear.”
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