Bosses in your Bedroom?

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.

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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.

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3 Responses to Bosses in your Bedroom?

  1. lgallar1 says:

    Wow, I have not thought about this. This is big because women do not only use contraceptives, but for menstrual cycle/regulation/control and hormone control and among other things. I understand their religious standing , but birth control is used in many different ways now not just to prevent pregnancies. I believe the corporations/ companies who are religious should respect their employees and their needs. I also think the court should put their “big boy pants” and make a decision.

  2. kdmflag says:

    I completely agree with your assessment that Hobby Lobby v Sebelius is a possible landmark case. The way I might present the case is to put forth whether the RFRA of 1993 supersedes the 14th Amendment. I specifically see a lack of equal protection where companies are willing to fund Erectile Dysfunction medications while labeling contraception medications taboo and unnecessary. Now I am well aware that my argument does not combat the foundation of Hobby Lobby’s ‘religious observance’ claims, where producing children is sacred but preventing them a mortal sin.
    There is a serious danger of setting the precedent which validates religious beliefs onto the corporate sphere. The protections corporations and religious institutions maintain are too powerful to mix, and the oppressive Christian undertones which run through this country should not be allowed to dictate the lives of non-believers. I feel like I am having to put forth in the U.S. the same argument our news organizations find shock with the enforcement of sharia law in Muslim nations.

    + 2 for lgallar1 for using the phrase ‘big boy pants’

  3. nicksalute says:

    Great post! I definitely agree with your opinion on this extremely controversial matter. I read about this case a few days ago, but not in detail. I appreciate how you linked the case to the recent SB 1062; the two cases are extremely similar. In discussing both cases, “religion” is being utilized as the foundation to infringe on rights, but as we discussed earlier in the year, “religion” is too subjective of a word to properly define. If my “religion” believes in complete divine intervention in regards to healing, can I simply not grant my employees healthcare on the grounds of those personal beliefs?
    Cases such as this one deal with an inevitable inability within the legal system: catering to EVERYONE’s personal desires. In order to successfully operate in the legal system and as a nation, I feel that we all must be open-minded enough to understand diversity and ensure that individual rights are not jeopardized from singular beliefs.
    Good job!

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