A variety of businesses are opposed to the new contraception mandate within the Affordable Care Act regulations. Specifically, these businesses state that being forced to provide contraception benefits within a health insurance plan at no cost to the employee abridges their right to religious liberty on the grounds that it is against their moral belief to inhibit the pregnancy in a woman.
Hobby Lobby CEO David Green, “The government is forcing us to choose between following our faith and following the law.”
Anthony Hahn, president and CEO of Conestoga Wood Specialties Corporation, “Being told that we must provide a health plan that includes a provision that violates the Christian beliefs of our family and the Christian values that our company was founded on is deeply troubling,”
Walk the faith and provide full maternity benefits
May I suggest that these businesses provide full maternity coverage, with no deductible or cost sharing, in their health plans and fully paid maternity leaves for mothers. If their moral objection is to interrupting life, then they should manifest their beliefs in total support of life.
President Obama’s administration proposed new rules to allow a “work around” solution so persnickety employers can avoid having to pay for contraception. Although, it looks as if nothing will really satisfy certain folks who bristle at any government mandate.
Money over faith in reality
This is not an issue about religious liberty so much is it about any regulation that costs them money. These businesses are happy to provide insurance to employees as long as it meets the needs of the owners. They have a difficult time separating their religious positions as an owner from being an employer.
Religiously inspired health plans
Some business owners don’t drink on religious grounds. Should they be allowed to tailor a health insurance plan that won’t cover emergency room treatment if an employee is in an accident who had been consuming alcohol? If an unmarried employee becomes pregnant, should the “religious liberty” clause be invoked to deny her healthcare benefits if the employer’s religion forbids pre-marital sex? Based on the “religious liberty” argument they shouldn’t have to provide any health benefit that they find morally objectionable.
7 other liberty blockers
Where is the furor from these employers about offering the other seven preventive care benefits for women
- Well-woman visits
- Gestational diabetes screening
- Human-risk Papillomavirus DNA testing
- Sexually transmitted Infection Counseling
- HIV screening and counseling
- Breastfeeding support, supplies and counseling
- Interpersonal and domestic violence screening and counseling
Many of these no cost preventive care benefits may also confer legitimacy surrounding a life style that an employer may object to on religious grounds. Should an employer have to pay for a healthcare benefit of interpersonal counseling if the advice leads to a divorce which the employer finds morally objectionable?
What other employee rules cause sin?
I get the feeling that if they felt they could make a legitimate “religious liberty” argument against paying the minimum wage, offering mandatory breaks, paying overtime, providing a safe work environment or being able to legitimately discriminate against hiring women, they would. Employees are not the personal property of business owners. The views and life style of the employee doesn’t infringe on an owner’s religious liberty because they don’t prevent the owner from freely practicing his or her own religion.
Contraception avoids abortion
Businesses need to ask themselves what is worse; paying for a contraception benefit or shouldering the cost of any employee’s unintended pregnancy? The cost to society and government programs is far higher to help support a single mother unprepared financially to raise a child than to provide a contraceptive benefit in health insurance. In addition, there are significant costs to the company to accommodate a woman who takes maternity leave.
Pregnancy is a fact of life and businesses have learned to accept it and integrate maternity benefits to attract and retained women. Regardless of your religious belief, it is good for business and our communities to support a woman’s access to contraception through health insurance.