Limiting Women’s Healthcare Access for the Sake of Corporations’ Religious Freedom?

Monday’s Supreme Court ruling that closely held corporations cannot be required to provide contraception coverage for their employees under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) spurs controversy and concern for the future as it pertains to women’s access to healthcare services.

English: Picture Of Ortho Tri-Cyclen oral cont...

English: Picture Of Ortho Tri-Cyclen oral contraceptives with Ortho Dialpak dispensers (photo taken by self). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The ACA requires employers to cover the full range of contraception in their health care plans at no cost to their female employees with exemptions for churches and accommodations for religious hospitals, schools and non-profits.  Last week’s ruling asserts that requiring family-owned corporations to uphold this law violates the corporation’s religious freedoms, defining a corporation simply as an “organization used by human beings to achieve desired ends” and explaining that when religious freedoms are extended to corporations, it’s to protect the rights of these individual people.

This begs the question, what about women’s – also people – legal right to equal access to healthcare services?  This decision inappropriately allows employers to interfere in women’s health care decisions beyond birth control.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists stated, “Contraceptives are essential health care for women and should not be treated differently than other, equally important parts of comprehensive care for women, including well-woman visits, preconception care visits, cervical and breast cancer screenings and other needed health care services” and further explained that:

“For many women across the United States, of all different religious, political and socioeconomic backgrounds, birth control is an absolutely essential part of how they stay healthy.  From pain management and menstrual cycle regulation to straight-up family planning, here are just some of the ways that birth control has been a very, very good thing in the lives of real women.”

injection for birth control (Depo Provera)

injection for birth control (Depo Provera) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Huff Post published 16 testimonies from women proclaiming health benefits received by contraception in Proof Birth Control Access Is A Very, Very Big Deal To Women.

It is obvious that the Court’s ruling to protect corporations “individuals” religious freedom is in direct conflict to providing women across the country with equal access to healthcare services as part of the legally-required comprehensive coverage for contraception.

What do you think?

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Suzanne Knizner

In my role as Project Specialist, I manage numerous virtual trainings and in-person meetings with an excellent track record of organizing and executing seamless events. I am a Wide Angle Youth Media Board Member, a non-profit organization that provides Baltimore youth with media education to their own stories, and serve as the Business Advisory Committee Chair. Read more.

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