By EMILY HOLLINGSWORTH
Hobby Lobby, a business that claims 13,000 employees, took their dissent over certain provisions listed in the Affordable Care Act to the Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 27.
In the case, Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby, owners Steve and David Green of Hobby Lobby Inc. argue that provisions in the ACA that require workers to be given access to birth control and contraceptives are in direct conflict with the religious beliefs and values held by the company.
According to NPR, Hobby Lobby CEO David Green said, “It’s our rights that are being infringed upon to require us to do something against our conscience.” However, Hobby Lobby’s call to restrict these provisions may have a negative impact on their employees, especially if the employees are women.
Those who argue in favor of the requirements for contraceptives in the ACA contend that the company owners do not have the right to dictate what their employees should or should not have access to.
Some express that Hobby Lobby’s proposal resembles gender discrimination, as women can only take many of the contraceptives.
According to former Clinton administrator Solicitor General Walter Dellinger on NPR, the ACA mandates are “an earned benefit, not a freebie. And it’s an earned benefit to which women contribute their share of the premium … Here the 13,000 employees of the Hobby Lobby corporate enterprise aren’t and should not be expected to share the religious beliefs of the Greens. What you really have is one family attempting to utilize their economic leverage to impose their religious beliefs on others.”
Though one could make the argument that providing insurance covering contraceptives would infringe on the religious beliefs of the company, the argument could also be made that the mandate would not have a significant effect on the business or its employees.
Hobby Lobby made its values clear to the public as well as to its employees. It stands to reason that many of the employees who work at Hobby Lobby would share many of the same viewpoints as the company owners, and, as a result, may not use contraceptives, though their insurance would still cover it.
The provisions under the ACA are mandated, but that certainly would not force employees of Hobby Lobby to take advantage of those provisions. They can decide for themselves whether or not they use contraceptives.
It would be more beneficial for the employees of Hobby Lobby to receive access to all provisions in the ACA and choose not to use certain ones rather than have aspects of the mandate exempt from them, as it forces employees who do need contraceptives or forms of birth control (which can also be used for means other than pregnancy prevention) to pay out of pocket for them.
Also, Hobby Lobby’s proposal could disproportionately affect women, who have the greatest need for contraceptives.
Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby is currently in progress, and a final decision will be made by the Supreme Court this summer.