Not even the suffocating humidity of late can snuff out the chill blowing from the south; when we talk about the winds of change, we usually think we’re going forward. Not if you’re the Supreme Court of the United States.
You’ve heard, no doubt. They ruled that Hobby Lobby, a large chain employing about 30,000 people, can deny birth control coverage to their employees because the owners do not believe in it. The Court decided that because it is a “closely-held” business (Hobby Lobby is owned by a single family), they can stick their noses into the business of their employee’s families. Which will no doubt be getting larger.
An employer’s religious beliefs are trumping an individual’s right to access medical care. Contraception is medical care. And, in case you think this is a one-off, that ruling has spurred on 82 other firms waiting in the wings to exercise the same puritanical control.
Call me outrageous, but I believe patient and doctor have the right to discuss any and all aspects of that patient’s health; I believe that doctor has the right to prescribe any drug or procedure that is federally approved and warranted in treating that patient; and I think any employer providing health benefits does not have the right to pick and choose which drugs and procedures they will cover based on their religious beliefs.
In a neat twist, it is only their female employees they’re lining up in their religious crosshairs. Erectile dysfunction got you down? Hobby Lobby will pay for your ‘script for the little blue pills. Some might think it’s a message from above that you should pack up your tackle and accept your fishing days are over. No, Hobby Lobby is cool with paying for Viagra for its male employees, as well as vasectomies. Well, that makes sense. I mean, the Bible does state that Viagra and vasectomies are part of God’s plan. Guess they just want to make sure men can both shoot and score.
It must be because Hobby Lobby loves kids, right? They surely must be huge proponents of helping their employees build a good family life with lots of offspring, as their good lord intended. Well, no. Good luck looking for maternity benefits; it’s not their fault you were stupid enough to get pregnant.
According to Mother Jones, “Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).” Huh. Let me get this straight: a company that has now legally blocked their employees from having contraceptive care covered under their health plan because it goes against their religious ideology actually invests money in firms that make…contraception.
Canadian Conservatives, though they consult with the political forces and think tanks in the U.S. who provided the very climate for the Hobby Lobby decision, haven’t pushed this country as far to the right. But the fact that decision surprised many south of the border should serve as a warning.
An Alberta physician recently declared she would not prescribe birth control pills. The governing body covered their butts by saying that it was a clinic, and patients should talk to their family doctor. They neatly skirt the fact Alberta, like many other provinces, is experiencing a shortage of family doctors.
To anyone who thinks Hobby Lobby is justified, I’ll make you a deal: I’ll keep my heathen beliefs out of your church, and you keep your religious beliefs out of my government.