Eye On Modesto

Thoughts and observations about Modesto and Stanislaus County

Archive for the tag “hobby lobby”

How Recent Supreme Court Decisions Harm All Of Us

By EOM Contributor  ladyjustice

First I’d like to provide some information on the recent decisions, then I will explain why I think they are harmful to all of us.

Let’s start with the Hobby Lobby decision first.  The court has ruled that Hobby Lobby can deny insurance coverage for particular types of birth control based on the fact that it goes against their deeply held religious beliefs.  The contraception mandate provided for in the Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare) had exemptions for birth control coverage for institutions or businesses whose PRIMARY purpose was the promotion of their religious beliefs.  Hobby Lobby’s primary purpose is the selling of craft items.

Hobby Lobby particularly opposed IUDs and morning after pills believing that they were similar to abortions.  IUDs are very effective and very popular among women.  They are also very expensive.  Morning after pills are necessary in circumstances where a woman may believe her regular birth control has failed or in cases of rape and/or incest when the woman may not have been protected by any kind of birth control.  According to the 35-page dissent written by Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsberg, this decision was so poorly written that it leaves the door open for any employer to deny coverage of ANY type of  birth control.  She also says that even though this decision was only about birth control, again it’s so poorly written it leaves the door open to denial of coverage of such medical procedures as blood transfusions and mental health treatment if your employer is a Jehovah’s Witness or a Scientologist.

Now I would be more believing of Hobby Lobby’s “deeply held religious” belief concerning types of birth control if they didn’t import the majority of their products from China where millions of women are forced to have abortions every year due to China’s one child policy.  I would also be more believing of their reasoning if they didn’t invest millions of their pension plan money in pharmaceutical companies that produce the very type of birth control they object to.  Apparently where Hobby Lobby is concerned, having to pay for birth control violates their religious belief, but making millions of dollars by investing in that very type of birth control, and buying their products from China, is in no way a violation of their religious beliefs.  As far as their beliefs go, money trumps religion every time.

Now about the “buffer zone” around clinics that provide abortions.  The court ruled that one particular clinic in Boston violated the free speech of citizens because their 35 foot buffer zone included a public sidewalk.   This particular clinic was built very close to the public sidewalk in a crowded urban area.  I understand the reasoning that public sidewalks can’t be excluded.  But because of this decision women seeking a legal medical procedure at this clinic will now be forced to push their way through a crowd of potentially violent protesters.   It will also result in more clinics trying to do away with buffer zones. Protesters were always able to voice their opinions outside the buffer zone and still be heard.  They claim they want to engage in “gentle conversations about other options”.  If that were true, why have there been 6800 incidents of violence, 2500 incidents of trespassing, 42 bombings, 17 attempted murders and 8 murders at clinics in the last 15 years?  This is not a free speech issue, but it is very much a safety issue.  By the way, the Supreme Court has a 185 foot buffer zone around their building.

Now about how this effects us all:

*Since the advent of the pill, women have been able to continue/finish higher education at a much higher rate than before.

*Having a higher education means that women can provide better financial support for their families.

*Women who can better help provide for their families results in fewer families needing public assistance (food stamps, housing aid, health care) which is provided through our tax dollars, thereby saving all of us money.

*Women who space when they have children and how many they have are healthier and their children are healthier than women who have too many children in too short a time period.

*Having more children than a woman can care for or afford will result in more children going hungry, which in turn will result in poorer education for those children, because study after study shows that kids can’t learn when they are hunger.  So we will have more poorly educated people in our future work force.

*Not being able to afford birth control will most certainly result in many unplanned pregnancies.  Those women will have to drop out of the work force for a period of time, which will financially harm their families and our economy.  When and if they return to the work force will depend on how much they can afford to spend for child care.

Hopefully, men will realize how this effects them, too.  Since it’s primarily women who are responsible for birth control (although I would certainly like to see this change), men will now be fathers sooner and perhaps more often than they would like.

Yes, I realize the court decision on birth control doesn’t mean that women can’t go out and get that birth control.  But affordability equals access.  Birth control can be very expensive.  An IUD can cost up to $2000.  The pill can cost $50 – $75 a month.  If you are a minimum wage worker, that is a significant amount of money.  And as we know, women are paid considerably less than men in the workplace to begin with.

Access to safe and legal abortions is being greatly reduced in many states.  Now the affordability of the most effective types of birth control is being reduced for thousands and potentially hundreds of thousands of women.  It seems to me that everyone should wish for fewer abortions to be performed in this country.  Affordability of birth control can help accomplish that.  But when you can’t afford birth control or when your birth control fails, ending a pregnancy safely for women who desire to, should always be an option.  It’s 2014, but women’s rights are more along the lines of 1950.

I get the “religious beliefs” idea.  I really do.  But when your religious beliefs infringe on other peoples lives in this most personal and private way, something has to give.  The ability to access birth control and a safe termination of a pregnancy will benefit women, men, children and all families.  This is the greater good.  And when your religious beliefs interfere with the greater good….well, you know where I stand.

 

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The War Goes On…and on….and on…

English: Hobby Lobby store in Stow, Ohio

English: Hobby Lobby store in Stow, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Gaetana Drake

The most recent attack on American women comes from a nation-wide chain of craft stores.  Hobby Lobby has over 500 stores in 41 states and employs over 13,000 people.  The chain is owned by the Green family, who has now filed a lawsuit concerning insurance coverage for birth control.

Twenty-six states already required insurance to cover birth control prior to the Affordable Care Act being passed.  There have been no lawsuits filed in those states requiring such coverage.  The majority of the states that have this requirement, have an exemption for “religious” employers.  Maybe I’m mistaken, but I believe that by “religious” employer, they are referring to a business whose basis is religion.  A religious bookstore, for instance.  Most of these states have had these requirements in place for many years, without a problem.  It’s just since the far-right extremists started this war on women, that other employers are trying to deny basic health care coverage for women.

Hobby Lobby doesn’t have a problem with all birth control methods.  They are objecting to the ones they believe cause “abortions”.  That includes the pill and the IUD.  These methods don’t stop an egg from being fertilized, they simply prevent the fertilized egg from implanting itself in the lining of the uterus.  They also happen to be the most commonly used and most effective forms of birth control.

The Affordable Care Act has exemptions for “religious” employers, those being ones whose primary purpose is the promotion of their religious beliefs.  I just don’t see Hobby Lobby falling under that category, do you?

I’ve been in the Hobby Lobby store in Modesto.  It’s a great store.  It certainly doesn’t give the impression of being a “religious” store.  I had planned to purchase some Christmas decorations there.  I’ll be doing that shopping at Michaels now.  I will not spend my hard earned dollars at a place that denies basic health care coverage to the vast majority of its employees.

I wonder what the next step will be?  Will there be a religious test to work at Hobby Lobby?  What other parts of their religion will this family try to force onto its employees?

If you work for a business owned by a Mormon family, will they deny health care coverage for the illnesses caused by tobacco and alcohol use?  The Mormon faith doesn’t allow the use of alcohol and tobacco.

Many people argue that the problem is letting the government mandate what an employer can or can’t do.  The government already mandates that an employer can’t sexually harass an employee, or discriminate based on the many protected categories (race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity….).  In many religions practiced right here in the U.S., females are considered subservient to males.  Would we allow that religious belief to spill over into the workplace?  The government “mandates” many things that benefit us all.  Overtime pay and safe work environments, to name just two.

I have nothing against any religion.  But I believe religion should be practiced in your church and your home.  Not the workplace, particularly when it is to the detriment of your employees.

Women make up 51% of U.S. citizens.  We also make up 53% of registered voters.  I think it’s a safe bet to say they make up over 65% of Hobby Lobby employees.  I wonder how those employees feel right now.

I may be a bit misguided here, but I would think that any employer would look at this from an economic point of view.  I used to work for an employer who did not provide coverage for birth control.  I actually kept track of how many unplanned pregnancies occurred in our workforce each year.  We would cover the pregnancy, the hospitalization, the well-baby check-ups and continue coverage for the child up to the age of 19.  The employer had a “self-funded” insurance plan, meaning that we simply paid a company to administer the plan, but up to a certain dollar amount, the employer paid the medical bills incurred by employees.  We could have saved tens of thousands of dollars every single year I worked there if we had just covered birth control.  We could have saved additional payroll expenses by not having to have replacement workers for the women who were on leave to have babies.

It is so much less expensive to cover birth control than it is to cover unplanned pregnancies.  It’s simple economics.  You save money and you have happy employees because they are able to control their reproductive lives.

Guess when my former employer finally decided to cover birth control?  You got it…when Viagra came on the market!  And why was that?  Because Viagra was something men wanted!  Well, pay attention – women want birth control!

And on a side note – Rick Berg, a candidate for the Senate from North Dakota….voted for a bill that would sentence women who have abortions (and the doctors who provide them) to life in prison.  Life in prison without the possibility of parole!  With no exception for rape, incest or the life or health of the woman!  Do you still believe there is no war on women?

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