Employers can opt out due to “moral objection”
Hey, ladies! You know how you’ve been job-hunting for a while? Well, along with looking for something that offers good pay and workable hours, you’re going to need to consider how quickly you want to get pregnant, because the Trump administration just rolled back the Obama-era requirement that employers offer their employees free birth control in their health plans.
Proving once again that the only thing he hates more than Obama are women, Trump and his lackeys announced this morning that they’ll allow any employer to opt-out of providing birth control coverage in their health plans if they have a religious or moral objection.
When the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2010, all employers were required to cover birth control with the exception of explicitly religious employers like churches and synagogues. Lawsuits against the mandate began immediately because if there’s one thing you can count on in this world, it’s that there are people out there who have an intense interest in how you handle your reproductive situation. Groups like The Little Sisters of The Poor (nuns) and companies like Hobby Lobby (the craft store that provides supplies for homemade crosses and nativity scenes) sued the government to try to broaden the exemptions.
In 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby, deciding that closely-held, for-profit companies could stop providing coverage. They created a workaround for those organizations: employers who objected to the coverage would notify the administration, which would then work directly with the insurance company to make sure the coverage was provided without the employer needing to be involved.
Everybody’s happy now, right? Wrong. The Little Sisters of The Poor still objected because they felt that filing the forms to notify the government made companies “complicit.” (Sorry, Sisters, but Jesus H. Christ on a Saltine cracker, are you serious?) But then Trump came into office, and told The Little Sisters in May that “your long ordeal will soon be over.”
You mean, “long ordeal” like raising a child you weren’t prepared for or “long ordeal” like spending years trying to force your religious views on people who just need to pay their bills? Both? Oh, ok.
Now, any company that wants to stop providing coverage can do so without notifying the federal government. All they need to do is tell their employees. And they can do that effective immediately.
The Department of Health and Human Services says that 99.9% of women won’t be affected by the new rule, which makes it ok. Also, there’s a new rule that no one can stop me from poisoning their grandmothers, but so few grandmothers will be affected that it shouldn’t really be a problem. In short, that’s a ridiculous way of saying this is acceptable.
Because the truth of the matter is that there are a lot of women out there who work for these companies and will not be able to pay for birth control. And if these women can’t afford birth control, they sure as hell can’t afford a child. But beyond the issue of money, there’s an issue of civil liberty and the right to make decisions about one’s fertility while also being able to keep your job. As Martin Luther King Jr. said, (yes, we’re going Martin Luther on this), “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” If our government says that employers have the right to control the bodies of .1% of women, then it’s a threat to all women in this country.
And we’re pissed.