Target: NY Senator Liz Krueger and NY Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee
Goal: Commend Senator Krueger and Assemblywoman Jaffee for attempting to ban employer discrimination based on employee decisions regarding reproductive health
Two New York lawmakers have taken a stand against employer discrimination directed toward women for their reproductive health decisions. Senator Liz Krueger and Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee recently introduced new legislation known as the “boss bill,” which aims to close a loophole in New York’s current workplace anti-discrimination laws regarding reproductive health choices and women’s privacy.
They work from the premise that all women should have access to basic preventative care, including birth control, and they drafted the bill in response to the more than 100 lawsuits filed by employers trying to avoid the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate. Under the new federal law, employers are required to provide coverage for contraceptives, including the pill and IUDs, without co-pays or deductibles. On March 25 the Supreme Court will hear arguments related to the Hobby Lobby craft store chain’s lawsuit against the mandate.
The bill would prohibit employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of the employee’s, or a dependent’s, reproductive health decisions, including a choice to use a particular drug, device, or medical service. The bill would also help women’s privacy rights at work, as it prohibits discrimination based on an employer’s personal beliefs about such services. Krueger and Jaffee assert that employers should not be allowed to impose their own religious freedom on another person who chooses not to practice religion or practices a different religion.
NY Assembly members have also introduced the Women’s Equality Act, which is stalled in the Senate Labor Committee.
We should commend Senator Krueger and Assemblywoman Jaffee for their efforts to end employer discrimination based on women’s reproductive health decisions. Denying women access to affordable birth control is equivalent to denying them access to fair and preventative care. Health decisions should be made by women, their families, and their doctors, not by their employers.
Dear Senator Krueger and Assemblywoman Jaffee,
Thank you for standing up on behalf of women who should have the right to make personal health care decisions without interference from their employers. Reproductive health is simply part of women’s health and should not be viewed as separate in relation to insurance coverage. Your proposed bill would protect a woman’s right to access basic health care without fear of retaliation or job loss.
A majority of Americans believe that women should have access to affordable birth control, and they support full insurance coverage of it as a preventative service. At least fifteen percent of women taking the pill are doing so to treat debilitating conditions such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or hormonal imbalance. For these women, birth control is not necessarily a reproductive health issue, but rather a means of functioning on a daily basis. In addition, research has shown that the pill reduces the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers.
I agree that employers should not dictate their employees’ health decisions. Allowing employers to decide what medical services and medicines their employees should receive is an attack on basic liberty and personal freedom. Thank you for your service and dedication to the women of New York, and their families.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: BetteDavisEyes via Wikipedia