On Monday June 30th the Supreme Court will make a decision in the Conestoga Wood and Hobby Lobby Supreme Court Cases. Ever since the 2010 decision in Citizens United (and arguably before), companies have been over extending their reach to exploit the 1st Amendment for their own purposes. In the case of Hobby Lobby and Conestoga, it’s a new attempt to challenge the Affordable Care Act that requires companies to cover contraceptive costs for their employees.
While many are touting these cases as being solely about birth control, the truth of the matter is that if the Court upholds the decision in the companies’ favor, it could have much more significant impacts that go far beyond contraceptive care.
If a company like Hobby Lobby can simply act based on their beliefs, (which, by the way, are not backed up by fact) and then use them to try and undermine law, then what’s to stop other companies from acting in the same manner on other issues?
As Sheila Hollender, co-founder of Seventh Generation and President of Sustain Condoms points out in this video, “any business could impose their religious beliefs on their employees. For example, if a company’s religion doesn’t believe in blood transfusions, what that will translate into is an employee’s child not being able to get the medical care that he or she needs."
Let’s look at a few other possibilities: If a CEO who also happens to be a Scientologist imposes the belief that mental illness does not require medical care, will the company just be able to then decide to not cover related medication for their employees? Can a CEO who practices Islam decide that all female employees must wear a Hijab, to follow his beliefs? What about groups that shun medical care altogether?
Just because an employee makes the decision to work at a business, does not mean he or she must also subscribe to the corporate owner’s religious beliefs.
The fact of the matter is this: an employer should not be able to impose the religious beliefs of individual corporate CEOs or shareholders on its employees. If corporations can claim the constitutional right to a special religious exemption from the laws that everyone else has to follow, then we all will pay the price, particularly when it comes to our health. Unless, you know, you never need medical care. And if that’s you, good luck with that.