An Abysmal Decision for Women’s Rights and For The United States’ Reputation Abroad

For immediate release

June 30, 2014



Statement from PAI President and CEO Suzanne Ehlers on Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby

Today, in a blow to women’s health and reproductive rights everywhere, the Supreme Court ruled that closely-held companies are not required to provide health coverage for contraceptives if they object on religious grounds.  By making a false distinction between some medical interventions and others, the justices failed to see the health and life-saving benefits of contraceptives—benefits that extend far beyond women to their families, their communities and their nations.  Birth control is basic health care, and today’s ruling doses out an extra, new and unique form of discrimination against this most basic care.

Almost a quarter of a billion women around the world want to prevent pregnancy but need modern contraception. In the United States alone, roughly half of all pregnancies are unintended. These women—wherever they live—are often the most vulnerable. They already face many cultural, religious, logistical and legal barriers. The last thing we need to do is allow a woman’s employer to get between her and the health care she deserves.

The United States has historically been a leader in international family planning. Today’s ruling sends a signal to the rest of the world that we are champions in name only. How can we advance the rights of women abroad when we cannot protect American women’s rights at home? The Supreme Court decision is bad for women’s health here and abroad, bad for women’s rights everywhere, and destructive to this country’s reputation as a global leader.

Contact: Dilly Severin, Director of Communications


Tel: 202-557-3423