On March 25th, the Supreme Court is hearing two cases brought by owners of for-profit corporations, Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialist. Citing religious reasons, these corporations wants to take away birth control coverage for their female employees. In partnership with the National Women’s Law Center, Innovation Ohio has signed onto an Amicus Brief filed for these two cases. The brief outlines our belief that granting these exceptions to for-profit companies is dangerous and discriminatory.
The birth control coverage benefit has been in effect since August 1, 2012. More than 27 million women, including 1,037,000 in Ohio, have coverage for birth control thanks to this benefit. Women are able to get birth control with no out-of-pocket expense. Birth control is one of the most used preventive health services among women. 99 percent of sexually active women have used birth control. Excluding it from insurance coverage but covering the full range of preventive care for men is discrimination.
A Supreme Court decision allowing bosses to use their religious beliefs to deny employees birth control coverage could have far reaching consequences and creates a slippery slope. This could open the door to companies using religion as a legal way to discriminate. A decision in favor of these companies could open the door to more anti-gay laws, such as the recent legislation in Arizona. Bosses could further impose their beliefs by denying employees coverage for other important health services such as vaccinations, testing for sexual transmitted infection or maternity care. They could even cite religious objections to hiring women at all.
The bottom line is women, not bosses, should be able to make their personal health care decisions.