Contraception mandate applies to business: Our view

0

Controversy over ObamaCare isn't news, but any intrusion into deeply held religious beliefs is particularly contentious, and just such a dispute is underway.


Over the last year, the Affordable Care Act has phased in a requirement that most health insurance plans give women access to FDA-approved contraception methods, including birth control pills and the "morning after pill." The law is right to require this: The Institute of Medicine and common sense say contraception is basic health care for women, and the prevention of unplanned pregnancies can cut abortion rates and give women a better chance at education, work and planning family size.

That said, some faiths oppose all birth control, and others object chiefly to methods such as the morning-after pill, which they say cause the equivalent of abortions.

From the outset, the administration exempted churches from the contraception mandate, acknowledging that government can't compel them to violate their faith. But it did not go far enough. Under huge pressure, the administration belatedly added a workaround for church-affiliated organizations that is still controversial, but which has been accepted by institutions such as Georgetown University and the Catholic Hospital Association.

That's just part of the battle, however. Devoutly religious owners of private businesses also demanded exemptions, and when the administration refused to budge, they went to court. Dozens of lawsuits are pending, and two federal appeals courts have ruled in opposite ways.

Written By: USA Today
continue to source article at usatoday.com

NO COMMENTS

  1. I fail to see how a private business should have the right to pick and choose, based on ideology, basic elements of health care. Suppose an owner doesn’t believe in evolution… does that mean he can exempt coverage for bacterial infections which have evolved immunity to basic antibiotics? The absurdity of their logic greatly saddens me.

    • In reply to #1 by Matthew Lehman:

      Suppose an owner doesn’t believe in evolution… does that mean he can exempt coverage for bacterial infections which have evolved immunity to basic antibiotics?

      Or can they deny coverage for a blood transfusion if that’s against their beliefs?

      • Perhaps they would compel the patient to accept communion, assuming that transubstantiation would do the legwork of regular transfusion.
        In reply to #2 by Kim Probable:

        In reply to #1 by Matthew Lehman:

        Suppose an owner doesn’t believe in evolution… does that mean he can exempt coverage for bacterial infections which have evolved immunity to basic antibiotics?

        Or can they deny coverage for a blood transfusion if that’s against their beliefs?

    • In reply to #1 by Matthew Lehman:

      I fail to see how a private business should have the right to pick and choose, based on ideology, basic elements of health care.

      A private business (which is a group of private individuals) should be able to pick and choose, based on anything, what they offer as compensation and accept as work duties, just as the potential employees (also private individuals) should be able to pick and choose, based on anything, what they accept as compensation and offer as work duties. Only when an agreement is made (for these and any other particularities) does the transaction of employment take place.

      • In reply to #8 by ekturner3:

        A private business (which is a group of private individuals) should be able to pick and choose, based on anything,

        So if they decide that black people have to use separate entrances and rest rooms or just aren’t allowed at all then by your logic it seems they should be allowed to do that as well. Or if they have a policy that women should make 30% less than men for the same job? Or (and this one is actually legal in many US states right now) if they decide that homosexuality is an abomination and that they won’t hire homosexuals that is also their right?

        • In reply to #10 by Red Dog:

          So if they decide that black people have to use separate entrances and rest rooms or just aren’t allowed at all then by your logic it seems they should be…

          My short answer is – yes, of course. They should be allowed to…by the government. In none of your examples are anyone’s rights violated. In fact, laws that disallow private individuals from establishing such criteria are in violation of the rights of the owners of the private business.

          That said, at the risk of falling off topic (and since I’m a brand new member of this very enjoyable website and don’t wish to be reviled from the get-go), I believe that treatment of blacks, women and homosexuals in the ways you mentioned would be abhorrent. Not to mention the fact that (other than, perhaps, in the backwoods) such business practices would be suicide.

          • In reply to #11 by ekturner3:

            Not to mention the fact that (other than, perhaps, in the backwoods) such business practices would be suicide.

            So you think The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a bad law?

            And BTW, you should study some history. For a good part of US history a lot of the practices I described were practiced by businesses that existed through much of the country (in fact many still practice legal discrimination against gays) and it wasn’t suicide, in fact it could be suicide, literally in fact, for people who dared to allow racial integration in some parts of the country. It wasn’t the magic hand of the free market that made them change it was laws like the Civil Rights act.

          • In reply to #12 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #11 by ekturner3:

            Not to mention the fact that (other than, perhaps, in the backwoods) such business practices would be suicide.

            So you think The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a bad law?

            The parts that dictate how private citizens should associate with one another, yes. The parts concerning government discrimination are very good, and, quite frankly shouldn’t have been necessary since I believe it all falls under the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment. But, government (Jim Crow laws) breached its limitations.

            And BTW, you should study some history. For a good part of US history a lot of the practices I de…

          • In reply to #16 by ekturner3:

            The parts that dictate how private citizens should associate with one another, yes

            So in other words you think it should be legal for a business to have a sign saying “no blacks allowed” or to have a separate entrance for blacks. Consider yourself reviled.

          • 15 years ago, during my Objectivist stage, I had nearly unlimited confidence in the free market to right any wrongs that private business could perpetuate. Discriminatory policies? Bad enviromental practices? People would righteously refuse to do business with such a meanie and he would be forced to alter his methods. Now, of course, I’ve been around the block enough to know that although examples of ethical business can and do exist, the bigger footprint you have, the harder it is to keep your feet clean. One only has to look at the abhorrent behaviors of business tycoons during the late 19th century to understand the uselessness of advocating totally unregulated commerce.

            The employer/employee mutually- agreed- upon terms of employment is a very tidy hypothesis in which no one’s rights are being violated, but again… this idealistic model gets trampled upon by the reality of employment in the 21st (or any) century. For the most part, if you don’t like an employer’s policy, the interviewer is very much willing to help you negotiate your way to the door.

            I don’t wish to sound disparaging of human nature, ekturner3, but in both my experience and from the perspective of history, if an employer has an opportunity to unfairly exploit workers, they most likely will. Labor laws, as imperfect or insufficient as they may be, are often the only thing holding back the return of unsafe sweatshops, ridiculously low compensation, and arbitrary human rights violations. Human compassion very easily goes out the window when there is money to be made.

            My short answer is – yes, of course. They should be allowed to…by the government. In none of your examples a…

          • In reply to #11 by ekturner3:

            In reply to #10 by Red Dog:

            So if they decide that black people have to use separate entrances and rest rooms or just aren’t allowed at all then by your logic it seems they should be…

            My short answer is – yes, of course. They should be allowed to…by the government. In none of your examples a…

            Of course EK, I think that what you have written is nonsense. It leaves all the power with the employer, particularly in times of recession, and opens the door to eighteenth century style brutalisation and impoverishment of the workforce.

            Employers should not have unfettered rights. Why? Because they do business in society and under the laws of the state. Their business environment depends on the well-being and efficient functioning of the state, society and the legal system. How these operate in a democracy is (technically) up to the people.

            The body politic has the right to decide whether they wish vulnerable people to work for nugatory wages, or indeed to be worked to death. They have the right to decide about work standards, health and safety, product quality, remuneratiuon levels (minimum and maximum), taxation… The job of business in a capitalist society is to make money for the owners of capital, the job of the people’s government, the right of the people, is to regulate the economy and business practice in their own interests, and for the good of society as a whole.

            On your extreme free market view there is nothing to prevent slavery. A starving person would be free to trade their freedom for food and shelter and no more. They would be free to grant the employer the right to buy and sell them. As the US constitution used to refer to “those whose labour is not free,” I suppose that total freedom for capital is in the mindset of many Americans.

            A final point is that if the employer manages a corporation, or public company as it would be called in the UK, then his personal feelings do not enter into the matter, his sole job is to ensure the financial well-being of the company, in the interests of the shareholders. He has no moral rights over his employees, beyond ensuring that they behave appropriately at work.

    • In reply to #1 by Matthew Lehman:

      I fail to see how a private business should have the right to pick and choose, based on ideology,

      I think you miss the point here, and the main point is that it is a private and not a public business. In the USA, contrary to Europe, government intrusion has not been fully accepted yet. For the government to try to rule your everyday life and way of thinking is for an alas decreasing part of the American population, unacceptable. Employees who want birth control from their employer’s insurance are free to work for an employer that gives that kind of insurance. It’s one nice facet of free will and freedom.Employers that don’t want to give that kind of insurance should be free to do so either.
      Besides, birth control pills are not all that innocent either, nor is the morning after pill.
      Personally, I applaud the stand, and unlike martin_C, I would like to have more control over where my tax money goes, and for what it is used.

      • In reply to #19 by permee:

        the main point is that it is a private and not a public business. In the USA, contrary to Europe, government intrusion has not been fully accepted yet. For the government to try to rule your everyday life and way of thinking is for an alas decreasing part of the American population, unacceptable.

        In some ways I agree with you. I think government should not tell businesses what kind of health insurance to give their employees because all citizens should be provided health care as a basic right from the government. If companies want to offer enhanced kinds of care as part of an incentive package so much the better. If the US had universal healthcare like most of the rest of the industrialized nations this wouldn’t even be an issue.

        But since we don’t and since the Free Market Fundamentalism that rules so much of America”s political system currently doesn’t allow universal single payer healthcare as an option we are forced to minor reforms to the system to try and guarantee that everyone has at least basic minimal healthcare at an affordable price. And basic healthcare for women includes contraception. And its not even just for birth control, although that should also be a basic right but there are plenty of women who need contraception pills for health reasons.

        And the idea that people can just decide to work somewhere else is just more Free Market Fundamentalism dogma that is about as true as Jesus raising people from the dead. Its true that people like me can usually move to a different job but unskilled laborers who have jobs at places like Walmart, especially in this economy, are lucky just to have a job, the idea that such people can up and quit and then find a job with better healthcare would be laughable if it didn’t indicate an appalling lack of basic empathy.

      • Here’s the thing: the principle of the issue is beyond contraception or abortion or if your employer thinks that 16th century bleeding is the way to go. It’s beyond your jingoistic “gub’ment imposing on ‘Merica’s sacred corporate freedom, when all an employee has to do is quit their job” nonsense. It’s a simple question of if employers should be given the power to turn back the clock on medical care as they see fit to accommodate whatever ridiculous ideals they may have. Your equally callous insistence that people should simply shop around for the ideal job in regards to health care makes me wonder if you have ever beheld the realities of the current job market.

        You were correct to frame the issue as one of freedom, though not in the way you think. Ask yourself: Who is best qualified to make medical decisions on my behalf? Is the answer A) a doctor, B) yourself, C) your insurance company, or D), your employer. I can’t, of course, speak for you, but my answer would start with A and proceed, increasing in undesirability, until I have hit on D.

        Now, you will no doubt protest and attempt to hide behind your neat little worldview and try to say “But you’re not being fair! I never said that you can’t get any medical care you want if an employer doesn’t like it! You should only get a job at an employer that just happens to offer a medical plan that fits what you’re looking for! It’s that simple! Or simply pay a potentially ruinous out-of-pocket expense if it’s so important!”

        Now, I’m normally not a fan of the slippery slope fallacy, but the ill-thought-out logic behind your skewed perspective on a proper employer-employee relationship demands that I put your ideals to the test. Where does it end? A keystroke tracker at home to ensure that you aren’t speaking ill of your employer? Should a Catholic employer have the right to regulate an employee’s fish on Friday? What about an employee’s sex life? According to your reasoning, this should be perfectly ok, since an employee can just quit and find another job, right? Any attempt to keep an employer from making improper, arbitrary intrusion is in itself an intrusion on the employer’s rights, yes?

        I’m afraid that your tidy little theories about the unassailable rights of the almighty employer will have a nasty breakdown the first time an employer throws you under the bus.

        In reply to #19 by permee:

        In reply to #1 by Matthew Lehman:

        I fail to see how a private business should have the right to pick and choose, based on ideology,

        I think you miss the point here, and the main point is that it is a private and not a public business. In the USA, contrary to Europe, government intrusion has not be…

      • In reply to #19 by permee:

        In reply to #1 by Matthew Lehman:

        I fail to see how a private business should have the right to pick and choose, based on ideology,

        I think you miss the point here, and the main point is that it is a private and not a public business. In the USA, contrary to Europe, government intrusion has not be…

        No such thing as a private business. A business trades in, and relies on society, its values, laws, customs, trading arrangements. A business is in the public space. “Private business” is an oxymoron.

  2. Would the Hobby Lobby be permitted to refuse service to black people on religious grounds?

    They want the right to interfere in the treatment of patients. Prescriptions need to be dispensed in a timely manner to be effective. Their demand is similar to demanding the right to write prescriptions for patients. The health of the patient surely trumps the religious superstitions of the pharmacist.

    The pharmacist is not being asked to use a drug personally, just provide it to a non-believer. We are asking him to give up interfering in his patient’s health care, a right he never had. He has no right to interfere in any other way for any other reason.

  3. The ‘deeply held beliefs’ of the religious are to be upheld and respected. Never mind that they are treading over the rights of everyone else in their dirty hobnailed boots.

  4. I just don’t understand – it’s the employee’s choice to use contraception or not so how is the employer guilty in the eyes of their religion? The employer might be indirectly paying for an employee’s contraception but that’s not condoning it! I’m sure some of my tax here in New Zealand goes towards paying for things I don’t agree with but I’m not the one choosing how to spend it so I don’t feel guilty about it. Argument over?

  5. This doesn’t happen in Britain. There is free family planning and idiots that do not use it. The religious movement do not have a say on the matter, thank the sky daddy for that. It can only happen in America. For a company to deny a person a simple coverage is MAD.

    • In reply to #7 by ikinmoore:

      This doesn’t happen in Britain. There is free family planning and idiots that do not use it. The religious movement do not have a say on the matter, thank the sky daddy for that. It can only happen in America. For a company to deny a person a simple coverage is MAD.

      Although family planning is “free” (we pay for it in via national insurance, tax, dental charges, prescription charges etc) health professionals are entitled to refuse certain services as a “matter of conscience”. No prizes for guessing that this really means that if I reeeaaaally reeeeeaaaaally believe the sky wizard tells me that something is wrong I have a special faith right to refuse. In theory they should direct the patient to a colleague who is willing to help, but friends of mine have had a less than pleasant experience in this situation. This conscience get out also applies to pharmacists, who are of course usually employed by private companies, not the NHS. There was a recent example of a pharmacist refusing to help or refer a patient with a valid prescription, and this seems to be a recurring theme

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-207429/Pharmacist-refuses-sell-pill.html

  6. From the outset, the administration exempted churches from the contraception mandate, acknowledging that government can’t compel them to violate their faith.

    Rookie mistake that. No the government cannot compel them to violate their faith, which is precisely why the government can mandate access to contraception.

  7. May I suggest, where the article says “That said, some faiths oppose all birth control, and others…”, should read “That said, some religious superstitions oppose all birth control, and others…”.

    I’m on a campaign to suggest the word superstition (or derivatives) be used much more frequently in communications with theists; they don’t like to face the fact that their beliefs are superstitious and it actually forces them to think.

    Please join my campaign.

  8. Wow, it seems many of you don’t have an understanding of what freedom is all about. I find that life, and the freedom to live it as I choose, including associate with those I wish to associate with, is my greatest asset. Do I think that the world I envision would be perfect? Hell no, not even close. But it sure would be better than having to worry about getting fined or thrown into prison if I don’t follow the will of the tyrannical majority.

    Exchanging the authoritarian shackles of an imaginary invisible creator for ones of an all too real authoritarian government is not my idea of making the best of this short period of consciousness we have.

    I have a set of skills that my employer and many others find valuable enough to pay me for. I have developed those skills over several decades. I have little doubt that most, if not all, of you are in the same position – even if you don’t realize it. We are not beholden to any employer any more than they are beholden to us. If you think you are, then you need to acquire some confidence and give yourself some credit. If you do know your own worth, but you believe others can’t cut it without the help of some elected officials, then I’d say get your nose out of the air and do something about that elitist in the mirror. Help these people develop skills. You’ll both be better off for it.

    As for thinking that I think the market solves problems because nobody would want to do business with a big bad meanie, that’s as ridiculous as saying that humans couldn’t have evolved from ape-like creatures because there wouldn’t still be ape-like creatures around. The latter shows you don’t understand evolution; the former is indicative of ignorance of economics. The successful companies do not become successful by hiring less qualified people or having what many would consider unreasonable limitations on their customers. They succeed by pleasing other people.

    As for slavery being a byproduct of free enterprise, that’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Free enterprise cannot exist without free people. Capitalism is a system in which people are the owners of their own production. Employees are free to sell their production to whomever is willing to buy it. Slaves, by definition, do not own their own production.

    Also, corporate welfare, mercantilism, and the like are not examples of capitalism. Crony capitalism is an oxymoron, and may be the reason so many are so anti-business. But crony “capitalism” can’t exist without government feeding the machine.

    The only reason private business may be an oxymoron today is because of all the public (read government) infringement upon the rights of the owners. Sure most owners do business openly with the public. But that is of their choosing, often because they know that’s how to be the most successful. If they wish to limit who they associate with, it’s not my or your business. And no rights are being violated. Let’s not make up rights that don’t exist. If something requires someone else to produce a good or perform a service, then that something is not a right. That’s actually slavery.

    Rant over.

    • In reply to #25 by ekturner3:

      Wow, it seems many of you don’t have an understanding of what freedom is all about. I find that life, and the freedom to live it as I choose, including associate with those I wish to associate with, is my greatest asset. Do I think that the world I envision would be perfect? Hell no, not even clo…

      Typical neo-con. Full of rhetoric, power of positive thinking, efficacy of self help, and above all smug self satisfaction. No attempt to come to terms with the real state of the world economy, the fact that large numbers of people lack the skills, motivation, health, mental health, intelligence, social position, personality, race, economic underpinning or geographic location that favours the successful. Just preaching is your answer.

      Also, absolutely no recognition of my main argument, that “private business” takes place in a public space, and depends upon society and government to function, and must therefore obey the law. If you want truly private business, you could go and live on a desert island, which no-one ever visits and you could harvest coconuts.

      Then go down to the beach and collect rare shells, and amuse yourself by trading (with yourself) the coconuts for the shells. Then you would have a private business, but you would still have to make decisions about the supply of coconuts and shells, as well as quality control of coconuts. To avoid excessive labour in shell collection, you would have to control the supply of shells, otherwise you could find that you have to harvest inordinate amounts of shell, to buy one coconut. Wheelbarrow loads of shell would be required to purchase your breakfast from yourself.

      So you see, even in that idyllic situation, you would need law and regulation, so you would also have to take on the role of Government, as well as Treasury, Trader, Customer and Citizen.

      Also, I did not contend that “slavery is a by product of capitalism.” Slavery existed long before capitalism. In the pre capitalist era they believed in the Great Chain of Being, in which all things had their place, ants near the bottom, human beings near the top. Each person had their place on the chain, some as slaves, some as free men, some as kings. Liberalism, which is the product of the 18th Century Enlightenment, proposed a model of humankind which you outlined; each person being a free agent.

      Now the freebooting planters in the American South, who lived a life enviably free of Government regulation and taxation, weren’t about to let the slaves go, so they reinvented them as animals, and thus not free agents. Unrestricted capitalism found it very easy to continue to hold slaves, merely by saying that slaves had no souls. (They were right about that, no one has a soul).

    • In reply to #25 by ekturner3:

      If something requires someone else to produce a good or perform a service, then that something is not a right. That’s actually slavery.

      Nuts, the law requires me to pay taxes (ie produce the goods of hard earned cash), but it’s not slavery, it pays for the scaffolding on which our society hangs. My company requires me to perform a service, it’s not slavery, I get paid.

      The law requires that companies provide a given standard of health care to their employees, including FDA approved contraception. What, are these companies going belly up due to the onerous introduction of massively expensive family planning? (inclusion of which would drastically decrease the burden of maternity rights on said companies by the way) or is it simply that these particular companies are employing an underhand trick to saddle their employees with the skewed ideologies of their board of directors?

      Companies aren’t sentient beings, and therefore can’t be enslaved. See the definition below from the OED. The last bullet might make you think….

      noun
      [mass noun]
      - the state of being a slave: thousands had been sold into slavery

      • the practice or system of owning slaves: he was resolved to impose a number of reforms, including the abolition of slavery

      • a condition of having to work very hard without proper remuneration or appreciation:female domestic slavery

      • excessive dependence on or devotion to something: slavery to tradition

    • In reply to #26 by ANTIcarrot:

      If christians potential get an exemption, can pacifists get a 30% exemption for all US taxes, because they don’t want to support the US military?

      Unless they’re religious, no. Probably not.

Leave a Reply