Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Here's Why I Support the Hobby Lobby Ruling...

A few days ago, a ruling was made by the Supreme Court that has sent the country to (once again) be divided over the representation of "rights" and "freedoms".  The ruling that allowed Hobby Lobby to NOT cover the morning after pill in their insurance plans, as well as the IUD implant.  All because the company's founders are Christian people that believe it is against their religious beliefs to support a pill that, they believe, could result in a termination of pregnancy after fertilization.  And, many Christian people believe that life begins at that point.  

At first, I was like "How dare they! Who are they to decide what a woman does?" Blah, blah, blah.  Not because I'm pro-choice or anti-choice, but because I thought it was interfering with women's rights based on a religion that some women may not agree with.

But, then, I started to really read the stories, listen to the debates, and started to waiver on my feelings.


Well, because when I read my NEW insurance documents that came in the mail just a few days ago, I learned that there are a LOT of services that aren't covered under my insurance plan that nobody was raising a stink over. 

I can get an obesity screening under my plan, but can receive NO obesity drugs or surgeries to help with obesity.  I can get ANY form of birth control I choose, but NO fertility drugs are covered for those that need them.  Women are completely covered for breast cancer surgery and complete reconstruction of a breast if a mastectomy is needed, yet men can NOT get penile prothesis done for injury or disease to that area.  And it got me thinking...

Why is that OK?  Who makes those decisions?  Who sits at the insurance companies writing this stuff up and gets away with it without any causing an upscale riot?

And the answer became very simple to me... None of those decisions contain the words"religious beliefs".  Blue Cross doesn't publish their covered/non-covered services with a little asterisk that reads that they don't cover the services because of "religious beliefs", they just don't cover them.  Simple.  

Then, there are those people that look beyond the "religious" part of the suit, and state that private companies should NOT be given the FREEDOM to make decisions based on individual beliefs.

OK.  So, that reminded me of another situation that happened a few years ago.

A few years back, it was legal to smoke in restaurants in the state of Arkansas.  You'd walk in and be asked "Smoking or non-smoking?"  But, those days are gone.  Why?  Because the government stepped in and told restaurant owners that they were no longer allowed to let customers smoke in their restaurants, and any bars that happen to serve food.  

That started a huge uproar as people protested that the government had NO RIGHT to tell local business owners HOW to run their businesses.  

Smokers and non-smokers alike joined forces on Facebook and agreed that even though many of them didn't like smoking in restaurants, it should be up to the business owners to decide if THEY want to allow it or not.  

Many of those the same people that are now all up in arms about this decision with Hobby Lobby.

First off, this isn't about women's rights.

Women that work for Hobby Lobby are still allowed to buy the Plan B pill.  It's available to them over the counter, without a prescription.  Their insurance company just won't pay for it.  If those women aren't able to pay the $20-$50 price for the pill, they can opt to use any other form of birth control that IS offered by the company at ABSOLUTELY NO CHARGE...some without even a co-pay.  Birth control pills, patches, shots, diaphragms, etc, are all still covered under the plan.

Not only that, but there are TONS of preventative services that are offered to women with this and most insurance plans that men are not included on.  

So, no... not really a women's rights issue.

This isn't about corporations acting as an individual.

Hobby Lobby is a private company founded and owned by a family.  They are not publicly traded, and no GIANT corporate investors are holding on to the puppet strings.  They started out with Christian values, and still maintain them by being closed on Sundays to allow their employees " a day of rest and worship".

Which leads us to... this being ALL about the fact that they used their religious beliefs to get this ruling.

As I mentioned earlier, I have found no headlines about the uproar of fertility drugs not being covered by Blue Cross/Blue Shield.  I have found no boycotts or uprising against the same insurance company for other services that they don't provide.  Which leads us to the actual root of this entire problem..

It's all about a company's religious beliefs that has caused the problem.

Had the company said "We do not wish to be forced to cover the morning after pill because it's an over the counter drug that requires no prescription, and other birth controls are readily available under the plan" I doubt there would be anywhere NEAR the attention that's being raised.

But they didn't.

They used their religious beliefs to run the entire suit.

And that was their mistake.  

There are many companies out there that use religious beliefs to run their companies.  Many companies owned by Christians, Hobby Lobby and Chick-Fil-A for example, are closed on Sundays due to their religious beliefs.  McKee Foods (owners of Little Debbie) are not open on Saturdays, because that company owner is Seventh Day Adventist.  Mrs. Smith's Pies brings in a rabbi to bless the lard that they use in the pies, because it interferes with the founder's Jewish faith.

I don't see any headlines about that.  

Yeah, but those situations don't "force" the companies' beliefs on to their employees thought, right?

Well, what if there are people that work at Chik-Fil-A and Hobby Lobby that are Seventh Day Adventists?  Their day of worship is Saturday, so how does getting Sunday off help with that?  What about all the Sunday Christians that work for McKee?  How does having Saturday off help with their day to worship on Sunday?

Companies have and will continue to use their religion when making business decisions.  Companies have and will continue to have other freedoms taken away from them by the government, such as what they can and can't do with their own companies.  Insurance companies have and will continue to create the lists of services and drugs that are and are not covered on their plans without anyone batting an eye.  

This is not going to lead to a Pandora's Box of companies filing suits about what they want and don't want their employees to have access to.  Sure, other companies may follow with not wanting to offer Plan B - but again, MANY other birth control options are offered.  Companies are not going to be allowed to demand that NO form of birth control be covered because it's against their religious beliefs.  

And you know what? Even if they do, and even succeed... every WOMAN, MAN, EMPLOYEE has the RIGHT to walk up to their boss, tell him/her to stuff the controlling job up his/her rear end, and find a job somewhere else.  

There's a thin line here, I know that.  What will companies be allowed to impose next?  What will the government enforce companies to do?  What rights of employees will be altered?  

But, this situation still gives freedoms.  Freedom of choice on whether you believe in it or not.  Freedom to shop there or not.  Freedom to work there or not.  

Yet, at the end of the day, I believe that anyone that wishes to start a company in this country...and keeps as their OWN company...should be able to run that company with their religion and beliefs in mind.



  1. So, I want to thank you for this because it made me go back and re-read the opinion rather than just skimming the news articles like I was doing. I have to disagree with you though, post-reading I found the entire opinion problematic and I think it creates a very troubling precedent.

    First, I would point out that this is not a decision limited to just a few companies. Closely held corporations compose about 90 percent of the corporations in the US and employ about 52 percent of the workforce. Meaning that these corporations get to impose their religious views on a large number of Americans who may not believe the same way they do.

    And second, I think the biggest issue I have with your argument is where you say that if people don't like it, they can just quit. To that I would just wonder, quit and do what? Go where? With what savings? Would they eat their principles?

    To go to the examples you've given of religion and business, in most cases, employers will make accommodations for employees who don’t work on the Sabbath or a holy day or holiday by moving shifts around. For those employers that won’t and then fire those employees, SCOTUS has said that these employees are at least able to get unemployment benefits while they look for new work because being fired for religious belief is not considered to be “fault” or “for cause” (See Sherbert v. Verner, 1963). So those employees fired for religious beliefs have some protection.

    That's not necessarily the case for employees here. Okay, sure, they can quit in theory. But there’s no generally unemployment available for you when you quit and I very much doubt that the local unemployment office will think that quitting because you don’t have access to subsidized contraceptives is “good cause” for leaving steady employment.

    And holy wall of text, I didn't mean for it to get this long. If you got this far, thanks for reading! My tl;dr is: for profit corporations should not be able to impose their religious values on their employees.

    1. Thank you for your comment. In response let me add a few things that I hope will clear up some of what I had to say. In this particular ruling, I feel that the "forcing of religious beliefs" isn't enough to make a person quit. It also, really, doesn't force the religious belief on to a woman working for Hobby Lobby. All HL is saying is that because THEY don't believe in the Plan B pill, they'd rather not pay for it. If religious beliefs were really being pushed, they'd say that no woman who takes the pill is allowed to work for them. And, of course, that would never happen. People get so bent out of shape about religion being "pushed on them" when really there's no pushing or forcing. Women are still free to choose from 16 other methods of birth control at no cost. Women are still free to go to the pharmacy and purchase the pill with their own money. It's NOT a force of religious beliefs. It would be a little different if a company forced all of the woman to cover up, or didn't employ anyone that used birth control, or unwed mothers, etc. That's my point by this whole story. And, I really doubt you're going to find any women that are willing to quit their $14 an hour job because this pill isn't covered. It's just a thing that so many people are using to fuel their religious agendas. But, again, thanks for your input. :)


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