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December 22, 2014

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Harry Reid: Court’s ruling jeopardizes access to essential health care

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Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada testifies on Capitol Hill on Tuesday, June 3, 2014.

Updated Monday, June 30, 2014 | 9:04 a.m.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Congress will have to pick up where the Supreme Court left off after the court ruled that employers don’t have to provide contraceptives to their employees.

“If the Supreme Court will not protect women’s access to health care, then Democrats will,” Reid, D-Nev., said after the Supreme Court ruled today that employers can’t be forced to cover contraceptives under Obamacare.

“We will continue to fight to preserve women’s access to contraceptive coverage and keep bosses out of the examination room,” Reid said.

In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled certain companies can use religious objections to opt out of a requirement in the 2010 health care reform law that calls for coverage of contraceptives.

Reid said the ruling “jeopardizes women’s access to essential health care” and accused the Supreme Court of ignoring “scientific evidence showing that the health security of millions of American women is strengthened by access” to contraceptives.

It remains to be seen what action Reid can take in a bitterly divided Congress to mitigate or reverse the decision. His social media team joined a messaging campaign pushed by reproductive advocacy organizations such as Planned Parenthood that framed the ruling as forcing employers into women’s lives.

“It’s time that five men on the Supreme Court stop deciding what happens to women,” Reid tweeted, using the hashtag #NotMyBossBusiness.

Rep. Dina Titus, a Democrat representing Las Vegas, condemned the decision in a statement.

"Ninety-nine percent of American women will use contraception at some point in their lives. Employers should not be able to impose their religious beliefs on female employees, ignoring their individual health decisions and denying their right to reproductive care," she said.

Rep. Steven Horsford, a Democrat representing North Las Vegas, tweeted his criticism of the ruling: “#SCOTUS Ruling today: Corporations are people. Women are not.”

Nevada’s Republicans in Congress didn’t immediately have anything to say on the ruling, their Twitter feeds and statement lists quiet.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement, “Today’s decision is a victory for religious freedom and another defeat for an administration that has repeatedly crossed constitutional lines in pursuit of its Big Government objectives.”

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