birth control 2The fight to protect women's reproductive rights from the encroachment of religious beliefs took a step backward recently when the United States Supreme Court ruled that corporations may deny employees contraception coverage on the basis of religious beliefs. Despite this major setback, some people of faith are protesting the decision, arguing that religious freedom and reproductive freedom are both forms of personal liberty.

Ministers Rally against Religious Abuse of Power

At the center of the debate over corporate exemptions from contraception coverage is Hobby Lobby. The Supreme Court ultimately ruled that the company's religious beliefs exempted them from providing two types of intrauterine devices (IUDs) and two types of morning-after pills under the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate. In his written decision, Justice Samuel Alito argued that forcing companies to provide these contraceptives unreasonably restricted the religious freedoms of Hobby Lobby's owners, because the contraceptives cause abortion. The problem is that the contraceptives in question do not actually cause abortions, according to a 1989 publication by the Population Council.

But even if IUDs did cause abortion, many progressive religious leaders are asking, so what? It is wrong to privilege the religious beliefs of corporations (purely business entities with no heart or mind) over the reproductive freedom of individual employees (actual humans). On Wednesday, representatives of the United Church of Christ, the Unitarian Universalist Association, and Planned Parenthood expressed this sentiment by handing out condoms to customers in front of a Hobby Lobby Store in Illinois. "You can make the religious freedom argument, you can make the argument about contraception, but ultimately, for me, this is about power", argued UCC minister Mark Winters, and "Jesus had a lot of issue with powerful people using power over the powerless".

The Big Business of Religious Freedom

Even some supposedly progressive religious leaders at the protest who challenged the religious rights of corporations nevertheless fell into the trap of defending unlimited religious freedom for individuals. "There are many of us Baptists, as well as other Christians, who believe that religious liberty rights are something inviolable for individuals and not for corporations", said Dr. Bruce Powell, the leader of the protest, adding that "right of religious liberty is a fundamental human right. Corporations are legal constructs. They are not human beings".

While Powell makes a good point about defending the religious rights of individuals, even individuals do not enjoy unlimited religious liberty just like any other liberty, religious liberty ends when it infringes on other liberties. The Universal Life Church Monastery strongly supports the reasonable exercise of religious freedom in conjunction with the exercise of other freedoms.


The Los Angeles Times

Think Progress


  1. Tim's Avatar Tim

    It is obvious to any intelligent person that the separation of Religion, Government and the Law (or Judiciary) is a fundamental principal of a free society. It is when these things become entangled that extremism and its worst consequences become a threat to the freedom and liberty of all.

    1. Minister John R Fureigh Sr's Avatar Minister John R Fureigh Sr

      I'm sorry,this a personal decision best left in the woman, it's her body.There's children awaiting for anyone willing to adopt them. Our Constitution states separation of Church & State.

      1. Dylan Monnett's Avatar Dylan Monnett

        Sir, I have a question for you. Do you have a son named John Fureigh Jr. If so does he go by John Busby. please get back to me threw email. My email is thank you. this mean a lot more to me than you would ever know.

  1. Ronda J. Fields's Avatar Ronda J. Fields

    I am pro choice and always have been. I also have a problem with an entity having the power to tell me what to do with my body. This is a free country, period! I am all for religious freedom, but a business is not a church and does not have the same rights. If you have a business for profit, you should have to abide by the laws the same as all other corporations. You can't pick and choose what you want to obey.

    1. Osa Dulce's Avatar Osa Dulce

      Dude, you're not paying for it. Employees and employers pay for it. This is not the Affordable Care Act, it is private health insurance.

  1. Mankind Global Media (@mankindglobal)'s Avatar Mankind Global Media (@mankindglobal)

    "The fight to protect women’s reproductive rights from the encroachment of religious beliefs " Not biased at all, are we? If women "have a right to choose," then I have a right to choose not to pay for it. Why is that so hard fro you to understand?

    1. Universal Life Church Ministries's Avatar Universal Life Church Ministries

      I think the crux of the argument is that does Hobby Lobby as a corporation have a religious belief.

      1. Ned Marbletoe's Avatar Ned Marbletoe

        Almost but not quite. The crux is that people have religious beliefs, even if they own a corporation. Are they allowed to reflect that belief in the operation of their company?

        The answer of the court is, "sometimes."

        Agree? Disagree?

    2. Trevor's Avatar Trevor

      Using your flawed logic, then no one should pay taxes that support anything they don't agree or believe in. Illegal wars, Congress's healthcare, a former president's security detail....

  1. Brenda Clements's Avatar Brenda Clements

    Birth control is not basic health care and there are studies that show than Plan B and IUD's do end a pregnancy if you believe life starts at conception then that life is sacred and ending that life is an infringement of the unborn person's right to life.

    1. Ned Marbletoe's Avatar Ned Marbletoe

      How is birth control not basic health care? Is it not a form of preventative medicine?

      Point taken about the rights of the unborn child.

    2. Trevor's Avatar Trevor

      This may be YOUR belief, which has no bearing on other sentient humans. If I believe that god made you infertile because you violated Mark 2:12, then that's my belief. If I use this to stop tax payer $ funding your fertility treatment, I am just as bad as Hobby Lobby.

  1. Lisa Davis's Avatar Lisa Davis

    I grew up in a strict religious organization.... A cult actually. I also used to work for Hobby Lobby in Charlotte, NC. It blows my mind that a "corporation" would rather pay for all that a pregnancy entails, dr. visits, maternity leave, etc, than pay for prevention.

    If a woman chooses not to have a child or for instance in the case of my Grandmother, was advised NOT to have anymore as it could have killed her, that is HER choice.

    Not providing birth control is not only selfish and controlling but it is imposing their religious beliefs on others. It is not up to Hobby Lobby as a cooperation to judge a woman's care of her uterus.

    Thank you for reading.

    Lisa Davis

    1. Jerry's Avatar Jerry

      The reality of it all this is; Each one of us, the owners of business and you and I are human beings. We all have the same freedoms and rights. It's their right to choose what they can or can't offer to their employees as a benefit. I don't believe it's a issue of people telling people they can't have sex or become pregnant or prevent it or even end a pregnancy. it's a the simple issue of choice. They choose not to pay regardless of reason that's their choice. I nor any one else can force any person to spend their dollars the way I or you would want them to or to worship who we say they should. The freedom of choice is your right and mine in this great country of freedoms. We all and I mean all of us have this right. The things that happen to us over the course of our lifetimes are a result of choices. Weather good or bad we have to live with them, I can't force you or my employer or uncle Sam to correct those. The real infringement on our rights are taxes and death. These companies could very well offer nothing as a benefit other than pay. We need money to live, they offer up the opportunity for you or I to earn the money we need. We are lucky for that. We can create our own opportunity. It's your choice to apply for employment and at the same time it's their choice to hire you. Who are we to make demands it all comes back to the freedoms of choice. We've all heard and said it, you don't like it leave. We are not owed anything, we have to earn the things we receive. Freedom of choice is all you owe me and I owe you. It's their right to choose to pay, it's not our right to force them to pay. They are not the ones choosing to have the sex.

    2. Ned Marbletoe's Avatar Ned Marbletoe

      Perhaps not providing birth control is selfish and controlling, but as for imposing religious belief, there is the freedom to not work for the company. Comparing 1) a law that imposes religious belief, or 2) a company that does so, the imposition by the company is much less.

  1. Thomas Keach's Avatar Thomas Keach

    I personally would not want my wife or daughters to have an abortion. That said, I would not take away their right to do so. This is a choice for a woman to make and not the US Supreme court and certainly not Hobby Lobby.

  1. Harmon Biehl's Avatar Harmon Biehl

    Lets see,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Sexually active females want the people they work for to pay for their birth control pills so they can continue to have recreational sex at their bosses expense.

    It turns out that even the Government isn't so stupid to fall for that deal!

    If me as a business owner has to pay for your sex capades I feel I should have more say so in your off time in everything else as well.

    Get real. Grow up. Take responsibility for your personal actions. Quit looking for ways to weasel out of your personal responsibilities to your own bodies.


  1. Ned Marbletoe's Avatar Ned Marbletoe

    Here's a challenge: The government passes a law requiring all universities to have an ROTC program. A Quaker school protests that it is against their principles.

    Do you rule for the Quaker school, or the new law?

    Is this a parallel case with Hobby Lobby decision, or is there some fundamental difference?

  1. Warren's Avatar Warren

    I ve read that Hobby Loby self insures themselves for healthcare. Haven't verified this but it is their healthcare plan, not Blue Cross or another major insurer, so they feel they can design the items covered.

    If true, this may be their way around using a major heath plan company, and elimnating standard covered items.

    I do not agree with the Supreme Court decision. Corporations are not people!! As a man, I should not be able to impose my will on what a woman must do with her body. It's her decision, but I can have an opinion. Assisting family planning seems to make happier more responsible families. Happier employees would make better workers for Hobby Loby. My wish is that their best employees leave to find better jobs elsewhere that has no restrictions on the healthcare plan and Hobby Loby greatly suffers financially.

  1. Rodney Roberts's Avatar Rodney Roberts

    This is not about hobby lobby saying you can not or even should not have the abortion. Their position is bible based and very straight forward right out of scriptures. They simply do not want to be a part of it or sacrifice other employees to be a part of a womans choice. The woman has the choice that has not been taken away. I do not believe in abortion, thats my right. If a woman chooses to have an abortion that is her right. But i should not have to be bound by law to support in any way her decicion,just the same she should not be bound by law to support in any way mine. Where the problematic issue is if i do not want to be supportive in any way her decission , then she said I violated her freedom. But I did not tell her she could not choose. I did not tell her she would be punished or fired or ridiculed in and way for making her cboice. All I saying is I do not want to support it. Also there are several forms of birth control the would pay for, but that does not cause an abortion, it causes you not to get pregnant in the first place. I really wish people would stop all the frivelious lawsuits and name calling and protesting just because one person does not want to participate in anothers views or beliefs. If you do not like the rules at hobby lobby for instance simply do not apply. And if you strongly disagree enough to file lawsuits costing thousands of dollars. Just open a Jane Doe craft store and offer these particular abortion pills. Hoppy lobby did not ask the courts to make other businesses stop participating in it they just didnt want to in those few percurdes or medications. I hope this makes since to some. But just remember this is just my opinion of which i have the right, even to disagree with some. But we all have to be tloerant to get along to agree to disagree. Like everyone's saying this is a free country. Please let us try to keep it that way. Thanks for taking the time to read this.

  1. Dawn's Avatar Dawn

    Oh I could form my own religion and not pay any taxes at all! That would be wonderful! LOL!

  1. Toni Guy's Avatar Toni Guy

    No man has ever died as a result of a pregnancy. Contraception is a matter of health, life and death for women. The anti choice folks would have no sex education, no contraception, no abortion, and no choice. That leads to the deaths of women and children, guess those lives don't matter as much as a clump of cells.

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