Opinion

Supreme Court says birth control is your boss’ business

An editorial from The Charleston Gazette

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — President Obama’s historic 2010 health reform, the Affordable Care Act, guarantees free birth control to American women, mostly through medical insurance plans of firms with more than 50 employees. But the U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that business owners with puritanical religious beliefs may prevent their company coverage from providing this modern benefit.

In other words, if corporation owners belong to conservative churches, they may block free contraception for their female employees.

Far-right Texas Sen. Ted Cruz exulted that the decision will open a floodgate of “hundreds of lawsuits” by firms with religious owners. West Virginia’s Republican attorney general, Patrick Morrisey, likewise declared that he is “pleased” by the decision that bars birth control for some employed women.

West Virginia Free, a women’s rights group, said Monday’s action gives employers “the right to impose their religious doctrine onto employees” — even though “99 percent of women will use birth control in their lifetime and over 150,000 women and families in West Virginia are directly impacted by this ruling.”

Sarah Brown of the WV FREE Action Fund declared: “The workplace is not the venue to exercise religious discrimination and persecution. This is not the time to roll back the clocks and discriminate against women in the workplace.”

 The five justices who narrowly decided Monday’s ruling — Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, John Roberts, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas — all are Roman Catholic, a faith that forbids contraception for adherents (although confidential surveys find that Catholic women use birth control extensively, like all U.S. women).

We think the decision is disgusting. Why should bosses be allowed to dictate the bedroom habits of women workers? That’s tyranny. Women’s private lives shouldn’t be controlled by their employers…

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