Next week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments against Obamacare's contraception coverage mandate from Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties. Both for-profit corporations believe that it's their religious right to withhold contraception coverage from their female employees; it's a completely ridiculous and unduly restrictive argument, as we've argued before. However, the Hobby Lobby suit is worse, and far more hazardous to women's health, than most realize.
As Tara Culp-Ressler points out at Think Progress, Hobby Lobby's lawsuit explicitly states that the company does not want to follow the Obamacare provision requiring employers to "provide health insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices, as well as related education and counseling." Because there's no such thing as a Plan B And IUD Counseling Center that exclusively serves to counsel women on contraceptive methods and does not provide any other gynecological services, this effectively means that Hobby Lobby is fighting for the right to "refuse to extend coverage for doctor's visits that include discussion about certain forms of contraception, like IUDs or the morning after pill," as Culp-Ressler puts it.
As Adam Sonfield of the Guttmacher Institute told Slate, "the only way to implement this objection would be to say that if your visit is going to be reimbursed by your health care plan, then your doctor can't talk to you about certain topics your employer objects to." Culp-Pressler further notes that it goes against the notion of informed consent — which is the "bedrock" of medical ethics — for doctors to only tell patients about certain (company-approved!) methods of contraception. So, essentially, this would force women to choose between discussing contraception with their doctors and having their doctor visits covered by their insurance.
Having a religious objection to certain types of contraception does not mean that you have the right to force your employees to abide by it. The idea that privately-owned companies could have the slightest amount of say in their worker's private medical decisions is invasive, inappropriate, and completely unconscionable — and that they'd ask for this much is nothing short of horrifying.
Image via AP.