Religious organizations win, lose in contraception mandate cases

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    Dec. 21, 2012 12:45 p.m.

    It seems to me that the government over the years has taken the benefits from the employer and made them a right. It use to be that the employer would provide these benefits and in many instances there were and still are limitation on those benefits. More an more the government is making these benefits a worker right requiring all employer to provide the same insurance.

    It is a slippery slope we have been on over the last few decades. When will it end? I guess when the government controls all aspects of our lives. Then we will wonder where our freedoms went.

  • History Nut Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 21, 2012 10:57 a.m.

    This whole discussion illuminates the absurdity of using employers as the delivery system for health insurance.

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Dec. 21, 2012 6:42 a.m.

    Does anyone else think this whole conflict is a conservative invention? It reminds me of all the times people say something stupid but relatively harmless, and then talking heads (on both sides) go on TV and feign outrage and behave as if they simply can't function unless they get a prompt apology.

    That said, the sooner we decouple insurance and medical care from our jobs (employers) the better.

  • Rynn Las Vegas, NV
    Dec. 21, 2012 5:04 a.m.

    Contraception can indeed be used for medical reasons.

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Dec. 21, 2012 12:45 a.m.

    The ideas of the extremists continue to get more and more contorted.

    Contraception has long been a fundamental component of healthcare (I.e., insurance), and is part of overall compensation packages. For extremist employers to presume that they know best what employees should or should not do with the compensation employees have earned, is the height of arrogance.

    And for these same employers to presume they have they moral, medical, social, and political expertise sufficient to make sweeping choices about the healthcare packages insurance companies, preferred provider networks, and other health management companies provide, is just downright ignorant.

    What these vocal extremists amount to is fanatic religionists run amok, trying to make a statement to compensate for the fact that their personal faith is becoming increasingly irrelevant in the world today.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 20, 2012 11:45 p.m.

    @ SS: Contraception is very much a medical need and is used for a great many things besides preventing pregnancy - but even if that is all it is used for, what business is it of my employer's what medical care I am receiving from my doctor?

    For all of you who don't think it is a medical issue and should not be covered on insurance, are you willing to have it sold as an over the counter, no prescription or permission needed, available to anyone who wants to buy it, product?

    Contraception does have some potential side effects - all medication does. But the main reason it is a prescription medication is so that your 12 year old daughter cannot walk into Walmart and buy it off the shelf without your permission. You don't want me to use insurance for contraception? Fine. Don't require me to have a note from the doctor to buy it. But as long as I need a prescription to buy it, it is a medical need and should've covered by medical insurance the same as any other medical need.

  • SS MiddleofNowhere, Utah
    Dec. 20, 2012 10:46 p.m.

    Wow, I can't believe people. All of a sudden contraceptives are equivalent to funding our military and blood transfusions. How are contraceptives in anyway related to one's health? If someone wants to participate in those activities than they should pay for them. It should not be insured! It's a joke! Should someones right to drinking or participating in other recreational activities be insured through their employers? Or should they have to pay for it with their own wages? The answer is obvious. People are irresponsible and want handouts, that is what this comes down to, plain and simple. If you want to play baseball, you need to buy a glove and a bat. If you want to participate in activities that require contraceptives, pay for them. This is ridiculous.

  • The Skeptical Chymist SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 9:52 p.m.

    I hope that all of those who are worried about the "loss" of religious freedom will support my right not to support wars that are against my religion through my tax dollars. I guarantee that through my taxes I will pay far more to fight wars that I do not believe in than will ever be used to pay for contraceptives. I don't hear anyone fighting for my religious freedom to avoid paying these taxes.

  • OlderGreg USA, CA
    Dec. 20, 2012 9:51 p.m.

    @ History Nut: "So if my company is owned by Jehovah's Witnesses, should they have the right to preclude coverage for blood transfusions?"

    ****yes**** -- as far as what THEY pay for. A reasonable work-around would the insurance companies offering supplemental pay-for-it-yourself coverage if your own desire for specific coverage is that important to you. You could have your transfusion, abortion pill, whatever without disrespecting your employers moral beliefs.

  • History Nut Cedar Hills, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 8:59 p.m.

    So if my company is owned by Jehovah's Witnesses, should they have the right to preclude coverage for blood transfusions?

  • DN Subscriber 2 SLC, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 8:53 p.m.

    When an employer is forced to provide some element of compensation that violates their religious beliefs, protected by the First Amendment, that violates THEIR rights.

    If an employee demands that religiously objectionable [whatever] then they are free to find an employer with no religious beliefs who provides it. Or the employer should be free to just tell employees that they will no longer provide health care of any sort, and that employees can buy whatever they like with the money they earn. If that is not allowed (as will be the case under Obamacare) then the employer always has the option of deciding they do not want to run a business anymore. Lock the doors, and go live off their savings, and let the former employees collect food stamps or starve or whatever they like.

    There is NO obligation for any person to start a business, risk capital, or work long hour, just to provide jobs for others. The profit motive has created millions of good paying jobs. Destroy the profit motive, or impose rules contrary to religious beliefs, and many of those jobs will vanish.

    Don't like that? Start your own company!

  • SS MiddleofNowhere, Utah
    Dec. 20, 2012 8:49 p.m.

    No one is saying you can't go and by contraception with your wages just as you would your groceries. Why should it have to be insured? People are so lazy it's ridiculous. Contraception is not a medical right or need. And despite what you may think, when contraception is added to insurance plans the prices will go up, what do you think pays for all of it? It's logic, if you are receiving more, you are paying more and your employer will have to pay more to provide you with "higher quality" insurance plans. Why can't people just buy it themselves like normal people?

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 20, 2012 8:20 p.m.

    @ Tek: Nobody is making my employer pay for anything except the work I do for him - part of that pay is in the form of insurance, but it is something I earned through my labor, it is something I am paying for with my labor. I earned it, my boss is not giving it to me out of the goodness of his heart.

  • Tekakaromatagi Dammam, Saudi Arabia
    Dec. 20, 2012 7:48 p.m.

    You missed the point. The mandate is requiring the employer to pay for the employees contraception. Hobby Lobby should not have any right to prevent their employees from using contraception. But they should not be required to pay for it. Let's say you believe that alcohol consumption is immoral and I work for you and I want to drink alcohol (on my own time, of course). If I buy the alcohol myself there isn't a problem. But you aren't going to want to go and buy the alcohol for me. And you should not be compelled to either.

  • very concerned Sandy, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 7:33 p.m.

    It is unfortunate that the government has chosen to take this kind of stand. It is not too hard to project that this kind of ruling could have future consequences not clearly obvious right now. The government is taking an anti-religious, highly secular stand. I sympathize with those businesses that will be forced to provide particular medical services which are grating to their dearly-held beliefs.

    Could the same logic require, at some point in the future, require religious people and organizations to pay for abortions under circumstances in direct opposition to their core beliefs. How far can this be taken?

    As I have said before, I think courts, informed participants, lawyers, plaintiffs, and defendants on both sides of the argument are well aware of where such rulings could take us.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Dec. 20, 2012 6:04 p.m.

    We need to make sure religious liberty is curtailed such that it does not impinge on individual liberty. Rights should accrue to people first and foremost. They can choose for themselves.

  • Kalindra Salt Lake City, Utah
    Dec. 20, 2012 5:20 p.m.

    ""The American public appears unaware or unconcerned that some religious organizations and family businesses indicate fear of losing the freedom to practice their faith under the new health care regulations," said Ed Stetzer, president of Lifeway Research, which does polling for the Southern Baptist Convention."

    Um - how about the American public thinks their personal religious beliefs deserve equal respect with the religious beliefs of their employers and don't think their employer should get to force his or her religious beliefs on the employees?

    I know a lot of people who think alcohol and tobacco are wrong - employers don't get to prohibit their employees from buying or using those.

    And to claim that the employer is paying for it because it is through insurance is ridiculous - employees earn their wages and benefits, including insurance. There is no difference between insurance covering contraception and the employee using their wages to buy groceries - they earned it, it is theirs to use and the employer should have no say over it.