“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” I am not a lawyer, law student, or do not affiliate with any religion or sect but I believe the Founding Fathers intent was clear in so far as personal religious beliefs govern one’s own actions but that those actions affecting others, as in the course of employment, can be legally addressed. The U.S. Supreme Court Justices have wrongly abridged employees’ rights by ruling that certain forms of contraception can be effectively barred by an active employer’s failure to fund them. With regard to less compensated employees who barely earn more than the minimum wage and are attempting to raise or maintain their standard of living by, in this case, family planning, it is a private matter between the woman, her physician, and her family (spouse) to use whatever method is believed effective and safe during her childbearing years. Moreover, what may be effective and safe at one time during these years may cease to be later on in her life. No method, in fact, is 100 percent effective and resort to an abortion has been known to be required to end an unwanted pregnancy.
Employers have every right to believe what they will. However, the human resources department’s policies should know this aspect about their employees health and wellbeing. If they hire young employees, family planning materials promoting their views should be readily available. At the onset (before hiring a new employee and at all times afterward, as well as for existing employees) these materials should point to “approved” providers of care that support the employers religious views. Nevertheless, this is a personal matter, as stated, between the woman, her doctor, and spouse and must be supported by the employer as a matter of course. They do not have the right to impose their religious views on their employees after the employee candidate has been hired. Of course, if they have written policies and procedures, an organizational vision, mission, and goals statement available before hiring and at all times for the public and employees to familiarize themselves with, the employee at issue may be subject to termination for failure to align her-/himself with the policies & procedures, vision, mission and strategic goals of her/his company.
In Justice Ginsburg’s dissent, in contrast, she states:
I would conclude that the connection between the families’ religious
objections and the contraceptive coverage requirement
is too attenuated to rank as substantial. The requirement carries no command that Hobby Lobby or Conestoga [Respondents]
purchase or provide the contraceptives they find
objectionable. Instead, it calls on the companies covered
by the requirement to direct money into undifferentiated
funds that finance a wide variety of benefits under comprehensive
health plans. Those plans, in order to comply
with the ACA, see supra, at 3–6, must offer contraceptive
coverage without cost sharing, just as they must cover an
array of other preventive services.
In a footnote, Justice Ginsburg notes: “…one person’s
right to free exercise must be kept in harmony with the rights of her
fellow citizens, and ‘some religious practices [must] yield to the common
good.’” United States v. Lee, 455 U. S. 252, 259 (1982).
I agree with J. Ginsburg as her credentials make her abundantly qualified to make these assertions. She is a woman, mother, grandmother, and has suffered from cancer which she insists does not affect her ability to carry out her legal responsibilities on the SCOTUS. Matters of conscience when put into actions that affect others are subject to laws. As she reiterates, and I paraphrase, “ones freedom to swing one’s arms about ends where my nose begins.” The Respondents, in this case, may be relieved of their “duty” under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act 2010 to provide the specified forms of contraception coverage at issue, in accordance with the majority opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, by passing on their burden to the tax payer so that these closely held non-profit companies’ owners can be conscientiously assuaged allowing them to harmoniously live in accordance with their religious convictions. However, this solution is contrary to J. Ginsburg and my beliefs; neither of us is mollified to varying degrees by it.