Who Gets Exempt from Covering Contraception?

by Jennifer Welsing

It looks like ObamaCare will be heading to the Supreme Court again. Though the high court has found the Affordable Care Act to be constitutional, companies and institutions both big and small are taking issue with covering birth control. 

The fierce backlash is in response to the section of the legislation that would have companies fully cover all “contraception methods and sterilization procedures” approved by the FDA. This includes the hotly debated “morning after pill”, which some feel is just an “abortion pills=”. The lawsuits, filed at almost a weekly rate against this part of the law, come from schools and companies with religious ties.  

“Religious employers” are exempt from this part of the law. They are defined as those whose “purpose is to inculcate religious values, that they primarily employ and serve people who share their religious tenets, and that they are a nonprofit group under federal law”. So churches yes, but the schools they support, no. Why? Because schools don’t always employ people of the same religion, and their primary function is not to teach one religion—oft times they teach people of various religions. Companies are also wanting to be exempt from these laws because their “core values” are based on religious beliefs. The most well-known case of this nature involves Hobby Lobby, whose founder is evangelical Christian and has said he “run[s] his company on biblical principles” and believes the company “cannot abandon our religious beliefs to comply with this mandate”.

So, it will probably come down to the Supreme Court deciding who and what is a “religious employer” and who is allowed to be exempt. I think religious groups should be able to abide by their own teachings as long as it does not interfere with a woman, or any persons, right to live their life but their own beliefs. As Judy Waxman, a VP of the National Women’s Law Center, stated, “Ninety-nine percent of women use contraceptives at some time” in their life, and that “Contraception was declared by the C.D.C. to be one of the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century”.  Hopefully the law stands and women stay covered no matter where they decide to work. 

Photos via whitehouse.gov, ffrf.org, foxnews.com

You may also like

Get the print magazine.

The best of BUST in your inbox!

Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

About Us

Founded in 1993, BUST is the inclusive feminist lifestyle trailblazer offering a unique mix of humor, female-focused entertainment, uncensored personal stories, and candid reporting that tells the truth about women’s lives.

©2023 Street Media LLC.  All Right Reserved.