The year is 1965, the setting is the United States Supreme Court. hearing the case of Griswold versus the state of Connecticut. Nine male justices heard arguments for and against the legalization of contraceptives. During that hearing, the male justices listened to only some of the arguments and preferred to read descriptions of birth control methods instead of listening to an attorney speak in depth about a topic that made these nine men squeamish.. The male justices sitting in on that case were not dissimilar to the modern day GOP members of Congress, who neither care to educate themselves on matters concerning women, but also appear to be wholly uninterested in doing so. Our country has a history of callous disregard when in comes to the needs-and rights-of women. We are now at a point in the 21st century when these issues should not be “issues” and yet here we are in 2014, revisiting the discussion of birth control. In the case of Griswold versus Connecticut, it was decided that birth control for married couples fell under their “right to privacy.” Since Griswold, the Supreme Court has cited the right to privacy in several rulings, most notably in Roe vs. Wade (1973) where the Court ruled that a woman’s choice to have an abortion was protected as a private decision between her and her doctor. Although the Constitution does not specifically grant citizens the “right to privacy” this ruling has been cited many times in other legal cases.
In our modern day 2014, the current issue is the Affordable Care Act & its requirement that health insurance providers cover without cost to the patient all methods of birth control for women that are approved the FDA. An exemption is currently being sought by self described “Christian” company Hobby Lobby, on the basis that the birth control provision conflicts with their beliefs as a corporation. Not that long ago it was ruled that corporations could be considered “People.” I know that cases are heard & won by whomever has the best argument, but really? Corporations aren’t people, whether you can use legal jargon to try to argue it or not. More to the point, corporations should not be telling their employes what to do or not do in their private lives.
The most current ruling by the Supreme Court has held that any accommodation of religion “must be measured so that it does not override other significant interests” of third parties. The exemption sought in the case of Hobby Lobby would contradict this entirely. Arbitrarily denying insurance coverage for contraceptive methods is a blatant violation of privacy and autonomy for the employee. While I understand the views of places such a Hobby Lobby, Chik Fil A, etc. in wanting to be “Christian” companies and their desire to uphold those values, and I understand that whats being asked of them conflicts with their view, .a ruling in their favor would create a dangerous precedent in this country for other companies or parties seeking to control women’s access to birth control. Women would need to seek birth control via other means, such as clinics…. thereby passing on the expense from employer/employee (because they ARE also paying for the coverage their employer offers) to the public. A ruling in favor could also open the door for abuse of the ACA by any company seeking to reduce costs for themselves simply by stating a “moral objection” to whatever ailed their wallets. I am a church going Christian and I morally object to the treatment of women’s bodies as a commodity which corporations feel they have control over. I hope for a ruling against Hobby Lobby.
Sources “Contraception as a test of equality–again” – Walter Dellinger, March 25, 2014, Press Democrat;
EDIT: I feel the need to insert my own suggestion here…(of course) I’m not certain WHY Hobby Lobby felt they had to file suit in the first place. It seems to me if they were THAT much in opposition, they could simply not supply insurance & their employees could just get it on their own through the exchange. Also, maybe in lieu of ins they could offer a health savings plan that employees could use for “approved expenses” or a health reimbursement plan (*Not sure if this is legal to do) If they truly are that opposed, at the least they better offer daycare reimbursement, and crazy high salaries for their employees to afford all those kids.