CEO denies the funding of contraceptives for workers, sounds interesting right? Unlike the Arizona Service-Denial Bill or more commonly known as the “Anti-Gay” law that Governor Brewer vetoed, which would of ultimately gave companies “the right” to deny service based on their religious convictions. A case similar, yet very different in its own ways has been presented before the US Supreme Court. Hobby Lobby v Sebelius battles the controversial issue of whether or not the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 (RFRA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000bb et seq., which provides that the government “shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion” extends to protect corporations and gives a for-profit corporation the ability “to deny its employees the health coverage of contraceptives to which the employees are otherwise entitled by federal law, based on the religious objections of the corporation’s owners.” The main question and often the idea that many miss is not only does this affect corporations and individuals freedom when working for corporations who express opposing/similar beliefs but it also sets a huge precedent for the entire nation when it pertains to the shaping of religious freedom cases.
Currently, there are 47 pending cases regarding religious freedom of for-profit corporations, and have all up-rooted from the controversial decision of the “Affordable Care Act”, and most importantly focusing on the contraception mandate. As we discussed in class a primary concern is seeking justice, but also more importantly setting precedents because our legal system works off precedents and uses them as a factor in future controversial cases. Jeff Merkeley an Oregon Senator says “it’s calling on the lands highest court to protect women’s health care.” Also he mentioned that in 2007 he passed the Access to Birth Control bill, which required pharmacies to provide FDA approved contraception, and includes the same standards for religious exemption as the Affordable Care Act does. Aside from setting a precedent for religious freedom cases, it also serves as a vital indication of an individual’s basic health care rights.
Due to this case serving as a representation and symbol of an individual’s basic health care rights, if a company were to not include birth control/contraceptive services in the health policy it would be discriminatory towards women, the primary users of the contraceptives. In 1938, the Supreme Court lifted the federal ban on birth control, which ended the Comstock era, and more specifically the Comstock laws. The ruling stated that it was protected in the Constitution as an individual’s “right to privacy.” Many focus the center of the argument on the fact that “Our bosses should not be in our bedrooms. It’s not our bosses business.”
I believe the controversy over this issue is far from over, and with the Affordable Care Act in effect it has only begun. I believe that it’s violating an individual’s basic health rights, and that if they don’t at least provide the option for their employees to get it then it should be deemed unconstitutional. Many final factors will decide how they choose, but the ultimate question is does the court want to make this the next “big” decision.