To Control or to Not Control: The Government and Birth Control
Health care and what people are legally allowed to do with their bodies have created controversy galore throughout history. A particular point of debate is the topic of birth control and the government. A dangerous couple, it raises the question of who should have control over contraceptive laws and what controls involving them should be put in place? Currently, under the Obama Administration, the Affordable Care Act and “Obamacare” have been created. One of the sections of this new plan creates a mandate which requires private businesses to provide insurance that covers birth control costs. The government should not be able to force businesses, and therefore the American people, to pay for birth control via health insurance because it violates the First Amendment and would create a financial burden for an already struggling country.
The Constitution states that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” (U.S. Const, Amend I). While forcing businesses to provide birth control is not a direct violation of this part of the First Amendment, it is still a violation. Religious freedom is not limited to churches, mosques or other religious organizations, nor is it limited to acts of worship (Rivkin and Wheland). Therefore it seems fitting that corporations should be able to live out their beliefs on contraceptives. Another piece of legislation that this violates is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The goal of this act was to protect against government actions that would target or burden religious activities or practices (Rivkin and Wheland). It is clear that forcing businesses to cover something that they don’t believe in would burden their consciences and their businesses.
These acts have caused companies to fight back against the injustice that is the result of required coverage of birth control. Under the Affordable Care Act only non-profits are exempted form covering contraceptives in their health insurance plans (Bassett). While this saves churches and other non-profits that are against birth control, what does it do for the business owners that are against birth control coverage? An example would be David Green, the founder of Hobby Lobby- a craft store that supports Christian beliefs, one of these beliefs being that the so called “Birth Control Mandate” isn’t right. According to Green “…the right of our family businesses to live out our sincere and deeply held religious convictions are guaranteed by the law and the Constitution…Business owners shouldn’t have to choose between violating their faith and violating the law” (Howell). Green has fought through court over it and now cases like his are being accepted by the Supreme Court.
While there is the illusion that contraceptives are not available and are extremely costly, this simply is not fact. First of all, there isn’t a lack of contraceptives. They...