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Policy: Law

White House: Supreme Court contraception ruling jeopardizes women's health

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The White House on Monday slammed the Supreme Court's ruling that certain businesses can opt out of Obamacare's contraception mandate because of religious beliefs, saying Congress should act to ensure that women at closely held corporations have access to birth control.

The court ruled that closely held corporations could opt out of providing contraception coverage as required under Obamacare.

“Today’s decision jeopardizes the health of women that are employed by these companies,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said. “We believe Congress should take action to fix it,” he added.

It is unlikely that a legislative fix would emerge, though, in a deeply divided Congress.

With the 5-4 ruling, the nation’s highest court said certain for-profit companies could opt out of the requirement that employers cover birth control for employees, if the owners believe it violates their religious freedom.

The Supreme Court has given the White House some high-profile losses in recent days, both on the birth control mandate and on President Obama's ability to make recess appointments.

Though the ruling affects just one provision of the president’s signature domestic initiative, it emboldened critics who have questioned the constitutionality of Obamacare.

However, the White House sees the decision as a potential rallying cry for female voters who believe the Supreme Court is meddling in their personal health care decisions.

“There are now a group of women,” Earnest said, “who no longer have access to free contraceptive coverage simply because of religious views” held by their bosses.

Obama was asked about the Supreme Court ruling earlier Monday before a meeting with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet but did not respond to reporters’ questions.

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