Gov. Quinn Signs Law to Put Women’s Rights Issue on the November Ballot

By WEEK Producer

Credit: MGN online

Gov. Quinn Signs Law to Put Women’s Rights Issue on the November Ballot

July 6, 2014 Updated Jul 7, 2014 at 11:48 AM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Governor Pat Quinn signed a law to let voters weigh in on whether prescription insurance programs should be required to include birth control.

The question will now appear on the General Election ballot in November. The action is part of Governor Quinn’s agenda to ensure that all women in Illinois have full access to healthcare.

“A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision has again brought the issue of women’s rights to the forefront,” Governor Quinn said. “I think Illinois’ voters will agree that healthcare is a human right, and the Affordable Care Act is meant to give all Americans access to decent, affordable healthcare. That means full access to medical treatment for every woman in America, regardless of who they are or where they work. Women should be able to make their own healthcare decisions. This referendum will help continue the progress we’ve made to protect and empower women in Illinois.”

House Bill 5755, sponsored by State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) and State Senator Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), creates an advisory referendum on November 4 asking whether any health insurance plan in Illinois that provides prescription drug coverage should be required to include prescription birth control as part of that coverage.

"The ongoing attacks on women's access to healthcare have made more than clear that there is a coordinated and focused plan to turn back the clock on women's healthcare rights,” Representative Cassidy said. “Today we are asking women and the men who care about them to send a loud and clear message that healthcare decisions are between a woman and her doctor, not her employer."

On June 30, the U.S. Supreme Court decided in the case of Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. that birth control measures can be excluded from employer-provided prescription drug coverage if such coverage is in opposition to the employer's religious beliefs.