Not Your Boss’s Business
By Carole Brite
President & CEO
Planned Parenthood of Illinois
Last week I listened to a young woman tell her moving story about what affordable birth control has meant for her. The story started with heartbreak and ended with a happy, thriving family.
Diagnosed with endometriosis at age 17, Courtney endured severe pain and far worse, a serious threat to her longstanding dream of being a mother someday. The only way she managed through her difficult years college and grad school was to get low cost birth control—the most effective treatment—at Planned Parenthood of Illinois. Courtney is now 35, and her two young children are the biggest blessings in her life.
If the owners of two for-profit companies have their way, stories like Courtney’s may not have happy endings for millions of American women and families. This week the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in cases brought by Hobby Lobby, a for-profit chain of arts and crafts stores, and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp, for-profit cabinetmakers, whose owners claim that their personal beliefs should give them the privilege to pick and choose which parts of the health care law they comply with and which they do not. Despite the fact that the law requires insurance plans to cover birth control, they want the right to deny their employees this coverage.
The owners are cloaking their arguments in claims of religious freedom. Their own, that is. Not yours or mine or someone who works in their cabinet-making shop or rings up customers in an arts and crafts store.
And so the slippery slope begins. If your boss at the arts and craft store can say no to your birth control, what’s next? Imagine a world where your boss could deny your spouse access to a life-saving blood transfusion, or mental health services for your loved ones, or recommended vaccines for your children—all based on nothing more than his or her personal opinions.
There is so much at stake here, not only for the 27 million women who are already eligible to receive birth control without a co-pay, but for the millions of other Americans who, if the court decides in favor of the owners, could lose coverage of the care they need if their bosses say they don’t believe in it.
Every day at Planned Parenthood, I see how the birth control services and other top quality preventive care we provide is helping women achieve their goals, maintain their health, plan their families, and live financially independent lives. Birth control is basic preventive health care for millions of American women—and the decision to use it should be made by a woman and her doctor, not her boss. Access to basic care should not be dependent upon where you work or your employer’s personal opinions.
We look to the Supreme Court to rule on the side of common sense in the Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties cases. Getting a job at an arts and crafts store is not the same as joining a church, and for-profit corporations are not the same as people who have religious beliefs.
Your birth control is none of your boss’s business.
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