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Doing back alley political hatchet job on Hobby Lobby

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POSTED July 18, 2014 12:38 a.m.

Hobby Lobby in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision continues to offer its employees health insurance coverage for contraception including birth control pills.

They offer coverage for 16 of the 20 Federal Drug Administration’s approved contraceptive drugs and devices. What they do not offer is the morning after pill commonly known as Plan B, after emergency contraceptive dubbed Ella, Copper Intrauterine Device and IUDs with progestin. The Green family that owns Hobby Lobby believes use of those four items constitutes abortion and therefore goes against their tightly held religious beliefs.

The Senate — apparently filled with opportunists and political hacks — on Wednesday tried to pass a law negating the Supreme Court’s ruling that was tightly crafted based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 introduced by the late Senator Ted Kennedy and passed by a 97 to 3 margin in the upper house. It was signed into law by President Bill Clinton.

If you listen to those behind #NotMyBossBusiness campaign, the Supreme Court ruling is going to trigger a corporate stampede to dump contraceptive coverage in health insurance plans.

For starters, the ruling can only be applied to those firms that are controlled closely by individuals who have religious beliefs that run contrary to what the specific four contraceptives do that Hobby Lobby doesn’t want to offer.

Wal-Mart cannot pull the plug on such coverage. Neither can virtually almost every other American corporation for the simple reason they are not tightly controlled by individuals — meaning no other owners whether it is through stock or otherwise. And if other firms do they’d have to demonstrate that a certain religious viewpoint is a collective mindset of virtually all of the ownership stakeholders. Very, very few corporations will meet that requirement to pursue dropping the four contraceptives under the Supreme Court ruling.

Before the Affordable Health Act was implemented, Kaiser Family Foundation’s survey noted 85 percent of all large corporations already provided contraceptive coverage for their employee.

Keep in mind the mandate for contraceptives in the healthcare act doesn’t apply to businesses with less than 50 workers.

If #NotMyBossBusiness folks honestly believe every woman should have universal access at no additional charge to the four contraceptives that Hobby Lobby is allowed by the high court not to offer due to religious reasons, then their energy would be more effectively directed at making sure all women without coverage are given access to the four contraceptives at no charge.

There are five existing Health and Human Services programs that provide contraceptive to low-income women. Why not create a sixth program that allows all women — no questions asked about coverage or lack of coverage — to have access to contraceptives at no cost?

After all, isn’t that the point of #NotMyBossBusiness to make it possible for all women to have contraceptive coverage whether they work for a publicly traded corporation, closely held family company like Hobby Lobby, are employed by a firm with less than  50 workers, are low income or have no job? Getting a law in place that tries to reverse a Supreme Court ruling based on a bipartisan law for religious freedom authored by liberal Democrats and supported by conservative Republicans and virtually everyone in between that impacts 13,000 past and present employees that won’t have coverage for four of 16 FDA approved contraceptives falls way short of millions that don’t have any contraceptive coverage at all.

It is clear #NotMyBossBusiness isn’t about making sure women have universal access to contraceptives through healthcare coverage whether provided by the private sector or the government. 

Either they are working overtime to come up with a political wedge issue by distorting the case’s facts and crying wolf about a conspiracy that doesn’t exist to take away women’s reproductive rights or else they just despise religion.

Their claim that a sinister move is underway to deny women access to contraceptives is so off base it isn’t funny. Anyone 18 or older can access contraceptives. 

The issue, of course, is paying for them.

The answer to such a concern is to make sure the government picks up the tab for any adult that wants contraceptives since even after the Affordable Health Act government estimates indicate between 26 million and 35 million Americans are still without health coverage. It would seem they would be a bigger concern regarding contraceptives than 13,000 past and present Hobby Lobby employees that don’t have access to just four of 20 FDA approved contraceptives.

This is really about people not agreeing that the Green family should not be forced to compromise their deeply held religious beliefs that life begins at conception and therefore they are financing abortion if forced to provide coverage for four specific contraceptives.

 

This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209.249.3519.

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