Why the ObamaCare Contraception Case has Nothing to do with Religion
Certain Christian Right Employers, like Hobby Lobby, would like everyone to believe that “forcing” companies to pay for contraception is “immoral” and the government should not compel religious believers to choose between their faith and following the law. As a former employer, who employed hundreds of individuals over a ten year period, that argument is a big lie.
Not once was I ever given a document, a bill, or informed by anyone what contraception my employees were using. I wasn’t told that “Mary wasn’t coming in today because she was having an abortion nor was I ever told the reason why “Jennifer never got pregnant was because she is on the pill or took the morning after pill”. Not once was I privy to the type of medical care my employees were seeking or what type of contraception they were using. The bottom line is that this type of information is protected by HIPPA Privacy Laws. This Supreme Court Case is not about Religious Freedom, it is about everyone’s right to privacy, especially when it comes to medical care. This right to privacy should never be trumped by another’s religious views.
Many Christian Right employers don’t want to pay for contraception because it’s against their religious beliefs, even though, as mentioned above, an employer would have no way of knowing what an individual employee is taking unless they somehow invaded their privacy. But let’s say for argument’s sake you allowed them to exempt themselves from Health Insurance which provided funds for contraception. What’s next?
Could Health Care Insurance companies and large employers use religion as an excuse to block individuals with pre-existing conditions? It's already happening! Most applications for Health Insurance require the applicant to sign a document giving the Health Care Insurance Company the rights to your medical records. Currently this information is being used to determine the “risk” of providing the applicant coverage. But what if it could be determined from your medical records whether or not you are following the teachings of the Bible?
Are you an alcoholic? It’s against many religions to drink alcohol. In fact it doesn’t have to just include treatment of addicts. What if we allowed religion to step in when it comes to treatment of any alcohol related injury? Orthodox Jews might be against providing insurance coverage for individuals who eat bacon. Many religions might believe that the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases goes against their faith. After all if men are marrying virgins and there is no pre marital sex than there should be no reason to treat STDs. Not to mention this would give certain religions the right to deny coverage to members of the LGBT community.
Leaders of Religious organizations have every right to their beliefs. If they feel strongly against using contraception, then don’t use it. Feel free to have your 19 kids, but as evidence has proven time and time again, we don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. The communications between a patient and a Doctor must remain privileged. The patient must have the right to speak freely and follow the instructions given to him or her by their Doctor without the fear that one day those communications could be used to deny Healthcare Coverage. My right to Health Care Insurance should not be governed by the religious beliefs of my employer. The denial of coverage for pre-existing conditions is a real problem in this country and we don’t need to add religion as another excuse to not provide medical care for individuals and families. Your Freedom of Religion should never compromise my right to privacy.