There has been much debate over the affordable care act in the past year over what is covered for women when it comes to contraception. With so much debate, there has been abundant misconception about what the Affordable Care Act entails for female employees that are allegedly effected by it. Studies have shown that most women aren’t even aware that other options for birth control are covered in their insurance plans.
Most off the criticism of the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision has assumed that women who work for Hobby Lobby and other religious businesses will lose their free contraceptives. That’s false. As Justice Samuel Alito explained in his opinion for the court, the effect of its ruling on these women’s access to contraception is precisely zero. The regulations under the Affordable Care Act already provide that if a religiously affiliated employer has a genuine religious objection to including those services in its insurance plan, the issuer must provide them separately at zero cost to the employee. The Supreme Court deemed that when there is an alternate way of providing services to employees without forcing religiously motivated businesses to compromise their principles, the government must choose the path that is least restrictive of religious freedom.
The right to free exercise of religion protects not only the right to believe what one chooses, but to exercise one’s beliefs in all phases of one’s life, including one’s professional life. That right is protected explicitly by the first clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution. The right to reproductive freedom is also protected by the Constitution, but there is no constitutional right to have the government, much less a private employer, subsidize one’s reproductive choices. Here the court simply said that the government should not make a religiously motivated employer pay for services that it views as the moral equivalent of abortion- specifically, the morning-after pill- if there is another way to fund those services without imposing the cost on the women employees themselves. Which brings up the fact that most
I believe it is the business owners constitutional right of practice of religious freedom to pay for what they deem moral in their own companies’ health coverage plan. I typically do not believe other people’s religious views should affect another person, but when it comes down to someone that owns their own business- I do believe it is their choice to do with it what they please as long as it is not going against any discrimination laws.
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