Hobby Lobby Case Has Family Planning Groups’ Panties In A Wad

contraception-mandate-cartoon

Women could always say no, but that would defeat the purpose

This is what happens when religion is reduced to something that is done for a couple hours on Sunday or is transferred to the earthly realm:

Next week, the Supreme Court will take up the issue of contraceptive coverage, hearing arguments in a closely-watched lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act. Two for-profit companies — the craft chain Hobby Lobby and the furniture-making company Conestoga Wood Specialties — are fighting for their right to withhold insurance coverage for certain types of contraceptive methods based on their religious beliefs. But there’s actually much more at stake than prescription drug coverage.

The two plaintiffs in these cases object not just to covering specific types of birth control, but also to providing counseling about that birth control. In Hobby Lobby’s lawsuit, for instance, the company states that it does not want to follow the Obamacare provision that forces employers to “provide health insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices, as well as related education and counseling.” SOURCE

The fact that this case is being argued at all is somewhat a conundrum in the United States, where we are supposed to be able to live as our consciences allow, but that there is objection to the initial objection…that’s another story.

What seems to be spurring the particular author in question is that people objecting to being forced to pay for that which they find immoral are also objecting to “related education and counseling” as if a doctor’s office is the only place to find such information when it comes to contraception and family planning.  Ever heard of WebMD?  No mention in the piece on what doctors may say about this.

The entire article from Think Progress is centered around the expense and inconvenience to the employee when an employer chooses what benefits to provide in a compensation package.  (No mention that the choice of how to compensate an employee has been taken from employers.  Health insurance and coverage for medical expenses used to be a perk, not an expectation.)  Also, no consideration given that since the employee/patient is seeking to avoid parenthood and all the related expenses, the employer would like to avoid the related expenses of complications that result from artificial hormonal contraception systems screwing around with blood pressure, blood clotting, etc.  How fair is that?

No, the main argument is that one group should not be able to push its beliefs on someone else, especially if it limits what a doctor can discuss with his or her patients (as if that has stopped insurance companies and now the government from directing doctor patient relationships).

“It’s frankly a rather radical idea — the idea that someone can say that if your visit to your doctor is going to receive payment from your insurance company, then your doctor can’t talk to you about certain subjects,” Adam Sonfield, a senior public policy associate at the Guttmacher Institute, explained in an interview with ThinkProgress. “Counseling and education about contraception has been a basic part of a medical visit forever, even before the methods themselves were covered. Before we had prescription drug coverage, we certainly had coverage for the visit to your doctor, and there were never any limitations about what you could talk to your doctor about.”

And particularly when it comes to contraceptive counseling, simply skipping over certain methods isn’t an option. In order to obtain informed consent from their patients, doctors are obligated to explain the full range of options available.

According to Clare Coleman, the president and CEO of the National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), informed consent is the “bedrock” of medical ethics. “Coverage of counseling is essential. It’s a conversation about intention and life stage as much as it’s a conversation about the actual prescription — in family planning, we have to meet the patient where she is, and find the method that’s right for her,” Coleman told ThinkProgress. “That conversation needs to be careful and detailed before the patient agrees to any medical intervention.”

No discussion of behavior changes….

Frankly, this is not a radical idea.  Any number of people I have known over the years, have been treated for various conditions and illnesses based on what insurance will pay for.  One woman I knew had nerve reconstruction surgery on a hand after a trip through a glass pane and insurance would pay for occupational therapy rather than physical therapy.  So that’s what she had when she really needed the range PT would give her.  I’ve heard of surgeons taking the route an insurance company wanted, and later having to go behind and take the route they really wanted to in the first place.  Insurance companies have dictated the amount of time doctors can spend with a patient.  So, this is NOT a radical idea, by any means.  (And still no mention of what doctors would do.)

The big problem here is that the population growth/we want our sex “safe”/everyone should agree with us crowd does not accept that there is a large percentage of the population that lives by a law that values human life as more than just a commodity.  They do not want to accept that religion can dictate lifestyle or that no person should be forced to violate his or her conscience on the basis of convenience for another.

Being an employer does not mean being responsible for what an employee does on his or her own time.  This is all getting entirely too jumbled as personal responsibility has been lost as an American Virtue.

If Think Progress and the family planning groups believe that their ploy of separating a proscription from counseling is going to weaken the religious liberty argument Hobby Lobby, Conestoga Wood Specialties, the Little Sisters of the Poor and any number of other entities have, they are delusional.  The Supreme Court decision may well go against the faith groups, but that does not mean that these people have to provide goods and services to which they object.  They can always go out of business.

And then where will their employers be?

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Categories: Contraception Mandate, Liberal "Logic"

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 replies

  1. So are you allowed to decide for religious reasons that you don’t believe in lunch breaks? Are you allowed to tell an employee they cannot spend their salary on something you disapprove of for religious reasons (say, bacon)? If you have such radical religious beliefs that your company can’t follow public policy, get out of business and good riddance, just like if you can’t afford to pay minimum wage, you might as well get out of business. My boss is not allowed to dictate my medical care. If a treatment is determined by public health experts to be a necessary part of a basic insurance policy, it needs to be available to me despite your disapproval.

    The use of birth control does not necessarily indicate a need for “behavior change.” Prescription birth control (as opposed to condoms) is better for committed relationships such as marriages, when the need to protect against STDs is no longer a concern. No behavior change needed, and not the employer’s business anyway. Are you going to tell a married woman she cannot have sex anytime she and her husband choose and plan their family as they choose? Condoms are the choice for individuals who might be making riskier sexual decisions, the ones whose behavior might warrant some change. So denying prescription birth control might just be hurting those who are making responsible choices.

    The doctor’s office is precisely where an individual should hear about such choices. WebMD is wonderful, but it is really a tool designed to help you make better decisions with your doctor, as opposed to substituting. I can certainly read about birth control medications and devices on WebMD, but it’s my doctor who will tell me what s/he thinks is best for me given my own specific situation and actually prescribe or obtain the appropriate one. Further, if a Hobby Lobby patient can’t even have a birth control discussion with the doctor, how can the doctor even reach the point where they might find it appropriate to educate the patient about risky behavior? Imagine this:

    Doctor: OK, your PAP smear results will come in the mail in a week or so.

    Patient: Thank you. I’d like to talk about birth control, please.

    Doctor: Oh, you work for Hobby Lobby, I can’t do that under your insurance. Just stop having sex.

    Patient: Never mind.

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