Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) released the following statement today after the Supreme Court ruled that for-profit “closely held” corporations with religious objections have the right to deny providing contraception coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Birth control is basic health care for women, and 99% of sexually active American women have used contraception at some point in their lives; 95% of Americans consider use of contraception to be a form of personal responsibility.

“Today, the Supreme Court handed down a decision that is damaging to women’s health, Constitutional rights, and our entire democracy. The Court’s ruling now empowers corporations to deny women access to contraception merely because such access is contrary to the bosses’ own religious views. Together with the McCullen decision, this Court has done more in one week to restrict access to women’s reproductive health than at any time since before the passage of Roe v. Wade more than four decades ago.

“Nothing in its opinion limits the reach to only closely-held corporations or to only certain forms of contraception. The Court has opened the door to every corporation in America challenging any law or regulation on the grounds that it violates the corporation’s religious beliefs. From vaccinations to mental health coverage, from anti-discrimination laws to environmental rules, corporations are now free to claim that critical, life-saving protections violate their religious beliefs.

“From Citizens United to Hobby Lobby, Supreme Court majorities continue to extend our basic Constitutional rights – the inalienable rights held by individuals – to corporations. Corporations are not people, period. We need a Constitutional amendment that would restore the original meaning of our Constitution – that the rights enumerated belong to individuals, not to corporations. A resolution introduced by Montana Senator Tester states clearly that the Constitution and the rights protected by the Constitution are held only by natural persons, and I strongly support its adoption.”