Commentary

Corporations Are People, but Women Aren’t?

Posted by Nick Brothers |
Shutterstock In Monday’s “Hobby Lobby” decision, the Supreme Court ruled that family-owned businesses cannot be required to pay for contreception coverage for their female workers.

Shutterstock
In Monday’s “Hobby Lobby” decision, the Supreme Court ruled that family-owned businesses cannot be required to pay for contraception coverage for their female workers.

By Dane Laborn

The Supreme Court convened on Monday and came to a decision on Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties v. Burwell. In a startling decision, the Supreme Court has held that commercial enterprises, including corporations, including partnerships and sole-proprietorships, can opt out of any law — saving tax laws — that they feel is damaging to their religious beliefs.

Hobby Lobby is owned by the Greens, a devoutly Christian family, and Conestoga Wood Specialties is owned by the Hahn family, a group of Mennonites. In accordance with their religious beliefs, some forms of contraception are akin to abortion. The Supreme Court decision allows them to opt out of paying costs under their insurance for birth control that doesn’t line up with their religion’s opinions, superseding the Affordable Care Act.

I awoke to this news Monday morning, and am utterly baffled. Corporations are people now, I guess. That’s what this is saying, basically. I am aware that the lawsuit is over the business owner’s feelings, but the businesses they own are not human beings, and they are being afforded the freedoms typically reserved for the living, breathing demographic. A building is not a person. The wider implications of this decision terrify me, as it is basically affording any privately owned business to dictate to their employees what is or is not okay medically. It has never and will never be any corporation’s business what medical procedures their employees undergo, this violates privacy and rights in ways completely unexpected to me.

We live in a country where the separation of church and state is becoming blurrier and blurrier, and every politician seems to have forgotten that our wonderful United States was founded in part to escape a Church-run system, to be free to make a choice as to what and how we believe, no matter what form that belief takes. Our forefathers would not be okay with the way Corporate America plays its game, putting the almighty dollar before the people. Sadly, modern America puts the almighty dollar before a lot, and the more power we are willing to give Corporate America, the more they will want to take.

Allowing businesses like Hobby Lobby something like Religious freedom opens up a massive can of worms, as so many different religions are opposed to so many different things, whether it be certain meats or blood draws, there is always a form of faith that says “no” to something. The fact that this is all seemingly directed towards women drives the nail even further into the category of “wrong.” The burden of payment for a woman wanting birth control now falls to her own pocketbook, her own wages, if her bosses think it’s a violation of their religious beliefs. It is also worth noting that an intrauterine device, IUD, costs roughly a month’s salary at minimum wage if paid for outside insurance.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg wrote a 35 page scathing dissent of the Supreme Court’s decision, one that I highly recommend reading. Universal Birth Control was deemed mandatory under the Affordable Care Act, and she is just as baffled and disgusted by this decision as I am. It can be found at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/30/ruth-bader-ginsburg-write_n_5544111.html

I think what hurts me the most about SCOTUS’ decision is that it comes on the heels of some pretty important milestones in the national conscience on the state of misogyny and women’s rights in our country. The ‪#‎YesAllWomen‬ hashtag and P&G’s recent ‪#‎LikeAGirl‬movement are aiming to create serious change in how we treat women and girls, in the things we say, the way some of our turn-of-phrases sound, that woman does not equate to weakness, but strength. Then there is this. Corporations are people, but apparently women aren’t. Hobby Lobby has been afforded the right to tell it’s female employees what to do with their bodies. This is not okay.

14 Comments

Eric July 3, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Umm, there are 20 different FDA approved versions of birth control that are available. Hobby Lobby just didn’t want to pay for 4 of them because they are akin to an abortion. Abortion violates their Christian ethics, so they did not want to pay for those 4 forms of birth control. Women can choose to pick from the other 16 forms if they want birth control.
Also, women who work for Hobby Lobby can still get the other 4 forms of birth control, they just have to pay for it out of their pocket.
Those facts, however, are not something you want to point out because it does not suit your feminist agenda.
Also, this should have never even been an issue because there was a law passed in 1992, by Bill Clinton and a unanimous Congress, that gives this type of freedom. Obama unconstitutionally used his pen and an executive order to try to push is beliefs on the rest of America. Hobby Lobby had the nerve to fight back, and I’m happy they did.

Reply to this comment
Robin July 3, 2014 at 4:59 pm

I agree with Eric. Also, of you don’t like the benefits package you are free to work elsewhere. Or use the salary they pay you to purchase whatever birth control you choose.

Reply to this comment
JD July 6, 2014 at 10:36 am

So you prefer employers making medical decisions, as opposed to an individual and a medical professional (MD), based on a faith that existed well before the scientific method? I suppose it’s not an issue for your “masculinist” agenda, since you’ll never get pregnant from rape or incest, or have a medical condition where pregnancy threatens your life. It is well known that Hobby Lobby’s “faith” doesn’t extend to it’s suppliers in China, notorious for workimg conditions akin to slavery. Perhaps when your employer refuses to cover treatments for STDs or surgery or some other medical dilemma, based on superstition overscience, ignorance over rational intelligence, or a thinly veiled judgement of your life outside of work you’ll see it in a different light. Or maybe you’ll still be ok with foregoing treatment that is medically valid, effective, and non-invasive, based on arbitrary ethics.

Clearly some forms of birth control are more effective overall, and some forms are more effective for a particular woman, just as I’m sure there are medications that your body responds to better over others. Glad you’re ok with your company’s owners’ “faith” depriving you of options.

One final note, a woman has every right to make choices about her body, and medical decisions concerning it, regardless of the circumstances that brought it about. A woman is not a child, and does not need the specious arguments of misogynistic, psuedo-spiritual, anti intellectual board members to “guide” her health care decisions or put barriers to all available, medically accepted treatments.

Reply to this comment
JD July 6, 2014 at 10:43 am

So you prefer employers making medical decisions, as opposed to an individual and a medical professional (MD), based on a faith that existed well before the scientific method? I suppose it’s not an issue for your “masculinist” agenda, since you’ll never get pregnant from rape or incest, or have a medical condition where pregnancy threatens your life. It is well known that Hobby Lobby’s “faith” doesn’t extend to it’s suppliers in China, notorious for workimg conditions akin to slavery. Perhaps when your employer refuses to cover treatments for STDs or surgery or some other medical dilemma, based on superstition overscience, ignorance over rational intelligence, or a thinly veiled judgement of your life outside of work you’ll see it in a different light. Or maybe you’ll still be ok with foregoing treatment that is medically valid, effective, and non-invasive, based on arbitrary ethics.

Clearly some forms of birth control are more effective overall, and some forms are more effective for a particular woman, just as I’m sure there are medications that your body responds to better over others. Glad you’re ok with your company’s owners’ “faith” depriving you of options.

One final note, a woman has every right to make choices about her body, and medical decisions concerning it, regardless of the circumstances that brought it about. A woman is not a child, and does not need the specious arguments of misogynistic, psuedo-spiritual, anti-science board members to “guide” her health care decisions through blocking access to all available, medically accepted treatments options.

Reply to this comment
anna July 8, 2014 at 8:14 am

JD, the employer is NOT making medical decisions for anyone! Their employees are free to buy the medicines and services that the company’s insurance does not cover! It was that way with every employee based insurance before ACA and in some instances it still is! My employers insurance doesn’t cover dental, vision or cosmetic surgery…that’s their prerogative as it should be since they are paying the greatest portion of my premiums. Before ACA they didn’t cover birth control at all and now that they do I am paying for something I don’t even need!
You people are so full of it with this “blocking access” BS! Also, be sure do make sure you are not buying anything that was made in or contains components made in China or you might be as “guilty” of supporting slavery as you are accusing Hobby Lobby of!!

Reply to this comment
Michelle July 8, 2014 at 11:27 pm

I’d just like to point out that your employers not covering dental, vision or cosmetic surgery has nothing to do with a religious belief. Hobby Lobby’s decision is a personal religious belief of it’s owners. PERSONAL BELIEF. Options should not be limited to a whole group of women because of a personal religious belief of the owners of a company. IMHO.

Reply to this comment
Michelle July 9, 2014 at 10:16 am

In addition I would like to add that of course everyone has the right to practice their religion. When your right to practice your religion affects my right to not practice your religion then there’s a problem. I know most have been saying “If you don’t like it, then leave”. While that is true you don’t have to stay somewhere you don’t like, I believe if this affected you personally in a negative way that you would probably be singing another tune. If someone of (x) religion that did not align with yours affected your ability to access all health care options available to you, were it not for their personal belief I’m sure this message board would look a little different. I believe everyone should have equal rights on both sides. Freedom to practice religion and freedom not to. By limiting these women’s options Hobby Lobby is in effect forcing the women that work for them to align their religious beliefs with the owners’ or leave. Again IMHO.

Reply to this comment
Michelle July 9, 2014 at 10:47 am

One more by the way (ha!)…I don’t work for Hobby Lobby (so no, this does not affect me personally in this situation) I’m just sharing a viewpoint and trying to see things from the side of the employees at Hobby Lobby.

Reply to this comment
anna July 10, 2014 at 6:53 am

“ If someone of (x) religion that did not align with yours affected your ability to access all health care options available to you, were it not for their personal belief I’m sure this message board would look a little different.”
As a matter of fact I have worked 23 years for a privately owned business whose owners are devout Catholics (I am not). They have never included birth control in their health care insurance (until ACA forced them to) and I don’t have a problem with that. If they are able to opt out of birth control coverage I would not blame them for doing so.

anna July 10, 2014 at 6:56 am

“ By limiting these women’s options Hobby Lobby is in effect forcing the women that work for them to align their religious beliefs with the owners’ or leave.”
OR purchase the other four birth control options themselves!!!

anna July 10, 2014 at 6:39 am

What about other instances of religious preference by an employer in his own workplace such as closing on Sunday, Good Friday or Rush Hashanah? Or what if they force their religious employees to work on these days? If you have ever shopped at Hobby Lobby you will notice that they play gospel music and hymns instead of your typical Musak. What it all comes down to is that when you choose to work for a company you should make sure that their policies align with your preferences or you can put up with it or go on down the road.

Reply to this comment
anna July 8, 2014 at 8:55 am

As for the wishes of the founding fathers, they had a great fear of government over-reach and apparently with good reason! Now we have a President who makes up the rules as he goes along.
There seems to be some issues with getting the concept of “life at conception” wrapped around some folks heads so let’s try a different scenario…
Say in the not too distant future there is a successful business owner who is Vegan. He and his family are animal rights activists. They eat, breath and live by these principals.
So the government passes a new law that all businesses must purchase food for their employees (can’t trust the sheeple to buy healthy foods for themselves you know) and they provide a list of what is required and of course it includes lean, grass fed… meat!
Our business owner fights for exemption from the meat part of the law which he feels he should not be compelled to have to provide. Of course all those meat eaters out there that don’t understand his plight are screaming for meat!
Get it now?

You might think this scenario is way out there, I don’t think so. When we allow the government take over all aspects of our lives it WILL come back to bite us!
Government, like anything, is good in moderation but too much can be hazardous in so many ways!

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