Was SCOTUS right to exempt employers from having to pay insurance that covers contraception?


Fact Box

  • In March 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, which requires coverage of preventive health services for women. In the following year, employers and insurers were required to provide women with no-cost contraception. 
  • On Wednesday July 8, the U.S. Supreme Court granted employers rights to deny their female workers birth control coverage by citing religious and moral objections. 
  • About 70,000 to 126,000 women could lose contraceptive coverage from their employers as consequence.
  • Contraceptive coverage under the ACA has saved women an estimated $1.4 billion on birth control pills in 2013 alone, according to the National Women's Law Center. “Increased access has also been credited with reducing abortion rates nationwide.”

Nida (No)

The SCOTUS' ruling is not right; it is discriminatory against women. By siding with morally objecting employers instead of supporting the sovereignty that women should have over their own bodies, the Supreme Court demonstrated that they value religious freedom more than the fundamental freedoms guaranteed to over half of this nation's population. 

Even the most basic employee insurance plans cover reproductive health, and birth control is an essential part of that category. Not only because using contraception is a right to autonomy that every female should be able to exercise, but also because many women have hormonal and medical issues that require the use of birth control. Research has shown that oral contraceptives are a better option for women at risk for endometrial and ovarian cancer, while condoms, whether male or female, eliminate the risk of STDs.

A pregnancy should be something that is welcomed with open arms, something that is hoped for. Access to contraceptives ensures that accidental pregnancies, which require invasive procedures, don't happen. Being denied this access may force some women to carry a baby to term that they are financially and emotionally not equipped to handle. 

The financial burden of covering contraception is absolutely an employer's duty, as any other type of healthcare provision would be. And interestingly enough, employers may end up saving in the long run by avoiding the costs of an unwanted pregnancy. Besides, you can't put a price on happy, stress-free employees.  

Stephanie (Yes)

The Supreme Court ruled today in favor of religious liberties, limiting part of the Obama-era Affordable Care Act. The ruling was a win in defending Constitutional rights, as employers may now opt-out of being required to provide employees with contraception through their respective insurance plans.

The ruling applies to 'employers with religious or moral objections,' and is no longer limited to only religious organizations. This is a notable decision for Constitutional freedoms, as the First Amendment is under constant threat and not taken seriously, as seen through Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's objection to the ruling, calling the decision 'zeal to secure religious rights to the nth degree.'

Women's rights groups have argued against the ruling, calling it 'an assault on women.' Yet those requiring contraception can obtain it through an employer that supports birth control or pay for it themselves, as women still have access to birth control, regardless of the 'contraception mandate.' Justices Alito and Gorsuch also commented on the ACA mandate being 'incomplete,' explaining that women who do not receive insurance through an employer may also need contraception. It is simply not an employer's responsibility to provide it.

It can also be argued that providing the free contraception mandated by the ACA is financially excessive, as 'millions of women' have obtained it this way.

While this is a victory ruling for conservatives, it is not solely a 'Trump win,' as the media has suggested. The Supreme Court reached the decision on its own with a '7-2 ruling', making it clear that the majority-voting justices value religious freedom--even when dealing with sensitive issues.

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