Florida Planned Parenthood PAC responds to Supreme Court's ruling on Hobby Lobby case
SARASOTA -- Planned Parenthood on Monday voiced its strong opposition to a Supreme Court ruling that certain for-profit companies cannot be required to pay for certain kinds of contraceptives for their employees.
In a press conference Monday afternoon, a representative of Florida Planned Parenthood PAC condemned the 5-4 decision by the nation's highest court, which caused a tremendous frenzy throughout the country and social media. The news conference was held at Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida's regional administrative headquarters, located at 736 Central Ave., Sarasota.
Surrounded by 14 somber-looking staff members, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida CEO Barbara Zdravecky spoke behind a podium and expressed the organization's disappointment at the Supreme Court's ruling through a written statement.
"That ruling in a 5-4 case showed that the five men in the Supreme Court ruled against women in this country," she said, adding that those with Planned Parenthood are "deeply disappointed and troubled" by the decision.
Zdravecky also serves as treasurer of Florida Planned Parenthood PAC, a spin-off organization of Planned Parenthood's Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliate, Inc. The PAC was created this year.
The corporations from which the ruling stemmed are Pennsylvania-based Conestoga Wood Specialties and Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby, the latter of which has a location at 4490 Cortez Road, Bradenton. Both Christian family-owned companies are considered "closely held" for-profit businesses, which means that at least 50 percent of stock are held by five or fewer people. Both Conestoga Wood Specialties and Hobby Lobby challenged the contraceptive coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.
"The decision to use birth control should be between a woman and her doctor -- not with her boss' interference," Zdravecky said. "It's really unbelievable that in the year 2014 there's still a fight going on in this country about whether women should have access to birth control."
In her statement, Zdravecky said that 99 percent of sexually active American women use birth control at some point in their lives. She said women use birth control for a host of other reasons, including migraines, pre-menstrual pain, menstrual regulation and endometriosis. Endometriosis is a health problem that occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus or womb grows outside of the uterus on other organs in the body.
As for Hobby Lobby, the company described the Supreme Court's ruling on its official website as as "a victory for religious liberty." The website published a written statement from Hobby Lobby co-founder Barbara Green. In the statement, Green wrote that the family is "overjoyed by the Supreme Court's decision."
"Today the nation's highest court has re-affirmed the vital importance of religious liberty as one of our country's founding principles," her statement read. "The Court's decision is a victory, not just for our family business, but for all who seek to live out their faith. We are grateful to God and to those who have supported us on this difficult journey."
Zdravecky said Florida Planned Parenthood PAC will "continue to fight for the right of every woman to make her own private medical decisions" without interference from others such as her boss, politicans and the Supreme Court.
"This is about our health. This is about our lives," she said.
Zdravecky said the issue is also about women's fundamental right to have control over their own bodies.
"This is about justice," she said. "And we're not done with fighting."
Amaris Castillo, Law Enforcement/Island Reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7051. You can follow her on Twitter@AmarisCastillo.