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Dems say businesses should warn employees about to lose contraception coverage

Jenny Lee Silver

Democrats in the Legislature say women should get 90 days' advance warning if their employers are about to drop contraception coverage from company-provided insurance policies.

The legislation is a response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case. The court said business owners don’t have to cover contraception if they have a sincere moral objection.

State Rep. Gretchen Driskell, D-Saline, says women deserve time to make other arrangements if that’s the case. She says birth control drugs have more medical uses than just stopping pregnancies.

“It’s not just contraception,” she said. “There’s a lot of women who use contraception for other issues that are health-related, that are pretty serious.”

For example, some birth control methods have been linked to reduced risk of ovarian cancer.

But the legislation – which is not a high priority for the Legislature’s Republican leadership – is also about making a point regarding the Hobby Lobby decision.

“There are no other areas where ‘Hobby Lobby’ said, well, OK, you can decide not to include diabetes drugs based on your religion,” said Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer. “This is just about contraception.”

The legislation would require 90 days notice before an employer drops contraception coverage. It would also require businesses to provide details on birth control coverage in job offers and postings.

Rick Pluta is Senior Capitol Correspondent for the Michigan Public Radio Network. He has been covering Michigan’s Capitol, government, and politics since 1987.