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Should private companies control birth control?

By Jennifer Lee Preyss
July 27, 2014 at 2:27 a.m.
Updated July 28, 2014 at 2:28 a.m.

Hobby Lobby has been at the center of a controversy lately surrounding the implementation of "Obamacare" and a company's rights when providing health care to its  employees. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that for-profit employers with religious objections can opt out of providing contraception coverage under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act.

In the wake of craft store chain Hobby Lobby's Supreme Court victory last month - which determined the government cannot force companies to go against their religious principles and provide certain types of birth control - Senate Democrats in Washington, D.C., recently attempted to go around the ruling.

July 16, legislation designed to make employers responsible for providing contraception per the Affordable Care Act was defeated by Senate Republicans 56-43.

The bill also set out to prevent companies from using religious affiliation to avoid complying with the Affordable Care Act.

Hobby Lobby, a Christian company, filed a lawsuit in 2012, arguing it couldn't be forced to provide emergency contraception to its employees because the Affordable Care Act included those items in the health insurance list.

Of the 20 Food and Drug Administration-approved contraceptives, Hobby Lobby nixed four of the items.

The controversial decision continues to resonate in the Crossroads. Some are saying it's the employers' responsibility to provide the contraception as offered by the Affordable Care Act because it is discriminatory against women not to offer those products.

Others support the craft store for standing its religious ground.

But what about other private companies around the nation? Should all private companies have the privilege of opting out of carrying certain types of birth control if it violates their religious principles?

What they're saying

Name: John Taylor

City: Edna

Occupation: Retired engineer

That's a double-edged sword. I don't think any business should be able to decide for a woman what birth control it carries. But I don't think it's right for any woman to demand that her company cover all birth control and for her employer to pay for it. Just for them to be able to say, 'This is what I want, and you have to pay for it.' We all know that any employer doesn't have to pay for anything and everything if they don't have to and don't want to. Hobby Lobby is also dealing with the religious aspect of it, and it's not fair to demand of an employer that they pay for something that's completely against their beliefs. It has to be working both ways. Hobby Lobby should have the right to have any say they want. They're still willing to pay for all the other forms of birth control."

Name:Richard Guerrero

City: Yoakum

Occupation: Musician

A company should not be forced to pay for something they don't believe in or anything that goes against their morals or what their company is founded on. We all have a freedom of choice. A woman can choose any type of birth control, and if she's not satisfied with what is offered, then she certainly has the freedom to choose a different one and pay for it herself."

Name:Kelli Gill

City: Victoria

Occupation: Licensed professional counselor; board member of NARAL Pro-Choice Texas

Health insurance is a benefit that, as an employee, I pay in to. It's not OK for my company to cherry-pick which contraceptives they cover and which ones they don't. Yes, I understand that insurance companies want you to try out the cheapest version of a medication prior to utilizing something more costly. However, if my body can't handle hormones, and my doctor suggests a copper IUD (intrauterine device), I should be able to make that decision with my doctor without my business getting involved."

Name: John Schlembach

City: Victoria

Occupation: Self-employed

The problem comes with its own baggage. That is: Once it gets started, where does it stop? As in the case of Hobby Lobby, since the ruling, there have been companies drafting letters to the president asking for a similar exemption in their hiring practices. They wish to discriminate against gays and lesbians. To continue the idea further, what's to stop a company from falsely claiming a religious exemption to get out of paying for an expense, such as what Eden Foods CEO Michael Potter has done? This would have to involve the government to determine what is and isn't a legitimate religious belief. I don't think anyone wants to go down that road."



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