What would you say if you were at work and your human resources representative asked you the following question: “which birth control pills do you take, and why do you take them”? Just to be clear, you are not friends with the HR rep. She wants to know if you’re taking them for a medical reason like fibroids or if it is because you’re having sex. Is it any of her business what you’re putting into your body? Should she get to decide whether those costs are covered or not?
First things first: I should back up because you may not be familiar with the #Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision or issue. Hobby Lobby is an arts and crafts store like Michael’s and AC Moore. Hobby Lobby sued the government to avoid paying for contraception as required for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act aka OBAMACARE. Obamacare requires employers who provide health insurance to include preventative healthcare services to women at no cost to the women. Preventative care includes access to birth control. The government had already exempted religious nonprofit organizations like churches from providing birth control due to moral conflict.
Hobby Lobby comes along and says that it believed it should be exempt from covering birth control, too. Hobby Lobby argues that it is a closely held corporation (Translation: a for-profit business that is owned by a small number of people) owned by people with deeply held religious beliefs. In this case, all of the owners are members of one family. They further argue that supplying birth control violates the beliefs of the owners of the company.
What’s the big deal? First and foremost, Hobby Lobby isn’t a religious organization! This is not Catholic Charities! It does not exist to advance a social cause like reducing poverty. It exists for the same reason you go to work: TO GET PAID! The reason our society gives nonprofit organizations a tax break and special rules is because they aren’t supposed to be in the profit-making arena. Hobby Lobby should be forced to compete by the same rules as any other for-profit company. Any company would jump at the chance of getting its goods and services produced for less cost! Not having to pay for healthcare costs gives them a discount on getting their goods and services produced. Don’t believe me? As your job if they’d let you volunteer!
What if birth control doesn’t matter to you? Well, how about this: what if your job was owned by a family of tremendous faith who believed in prayer only and you had cancer? They could argue against having chemo drugs covered by their insurance and say that whatever happens is the will of God. Now, let’s make the point even clearer. An Ohio family decided not to give one of its children chemo due to religious beliefs. This family was taken to court and The court said the beliefs and convictions of her parents can’t outweigh the rights of the state to protect the child. The difference is hypocrisy and money. This family was/is broke comparatively speaking! If Hobby Lobby is so concerned about making sure every part of its owners lives and beliefs systems are consistent with how it runs its business, why does its investments include businesses that provide abortions and birth control? Hobby Lobby’s owners couldn’t care less about God, they want to maintain (or increase) their profit margin.
Finally, the United States subscribes to this phenomenon called precedent. Essentially, precedent means that current and subsequent court decisions take into account the rationale or previous decisions and try to stay in line with them. Why do you care? Consider this: roughly, 90% of all companies in the United States are closely held meaning that a small number of people own and control the company. What this means is that every organization owned by a small group of people can argue that it shouldn’t have to do something that its owners don’t want to do if a religious basis can be found (or created). Is excusing Hobby Lobby from paying for contraception due to the religious beliefs of a closely held company equivalent to Chick-Fil-A saying, assuming they are also closely held, they don’t hire gays because such conflicts with the beliefs of its owners (Although the company has NOT done this, I think Chick-Fil-A could make this argument now)? And what about those people who believe that black people are cursed descendants of Ham (character in the OT) and don’t want to hire us? What about a company owned by men who believe women should not work outside the home because that suits their religious beliefs?
You may not care right now, but corporate interests are coming for you, too……just wait.