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Religion can’t cut birth control

A provision of the Affordable Care Act that requires employers to provide birth control as part of worker health plans has reached the Supreme Court, marking the second time the High Court has scrutinized the new health care law.

Hobby Lobby, a for-profit craft and home decor store, has been fighting for corporations to have the same religious rights as individuals or churches in what has led to the Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores case brought before the Supreme Court.

Hobby Lobby and other religiously owned corporations cite religious objections to certain types of birth control, including Plan B, the morning-after pill that has erroneously been refered to as the “abortion pill” by several religious organizations and figures.

Of all the factors in deciding how to best insure an employee, religion should not even be up for consideration. The very nature of worker wellness plans is to provide employees with adequate health resources. Though controversial, birth control comprises such a resource, and to not provide it places female employees in an unfair and, more importantly, unhealthy situation.

If employers like Hobby Lobby can use religious texts to govern what health options or treatments their employees may and may not receive, how long before last-resort blood transfusions are also slashed from a sickly worker’s list of treatment options if they work for Jehovah’s Witnesses?

Religion brings with it a well of moral lessons that for thousands of years have shaped societies. But there is something highly immoral about using sacred texts written thousands of years ago to decide whether or not someone lives or even has the ability to make their own health care decisions.

Employers should not even be poised to make such critical decisions, only to make the resources available. The question of morality should be left for the workers to answer and not for these for-profit companies to dictate.

Business Week reports that the case also raises other troubling issues and that giving Hobby Lobby the same religious rights as churches could potentially give companies sweeping powers to opt out of laws they find immoral, perhaps those concerning discrimination, the minimum wage, family leave, maybe even taxation.”

There is a reason for-profit companies are not afforded these rights and we must keep it this way.

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