I have been following the Hobby Lobby case and it’s subsequent ruling, and I have to say that I am upset with the verdict. This is a position that, to be honest, is unpopular with my fellow Libertarians. After all, the importance of private property and voluntary contracts is very important to us. Now, I am no fan of the Affordable Care Act. I think it’s a failure in healthcare reform, whether it’s socialized or privatized. But I am concerned about upholding the Constitution.
The thing is, I can kinda see where the private property, voluntary contracts, argument is coming from — especially since the ruling doesn’t allow the companies to ban the use of contraceptives by their employees. It merely says that the employers don’t have to pay for it if they don’t feel comfortable with that. From a certain point of view, that actually makes alot of sense.
But I do think it could also be thought of in a different way, even if we argue purely on the principle of voluntary contracts. This alternative view is a rebuttal to the argument that “if she wants to use BC she should pay for it herself, and if she doesn’t like that she doesn’t have to work for that company”.
I posit that using the reasoning of voluntary contracts, the employer should remember that he has a contractual obligation to compensate his employees for their labor with agreed upon payment. this includes healthcare coverage. If his religious beliefs are offended by paying for his employees contraceptives, he either has to suck it up and fulfill his contractual obligation, or else not enter the contract. This ruling doesn’t honor voluntary contractual obligations; it allows one party to undermine the other. this is basically withholding payment.
It is also argued by a Quaker blogger and activist on her blog, Lee’s Bookshelf, that the “religious conscience” argument that Hobby Lobby was making was not only hypocritical, but insincere as well. In her article, titled [url=http://flowerhorne.com/2013/11/26/get-your-fake-conscience-objections-off-my-lawn/]Get Your Fake Conscience Objections Off My Lawn[/url], she talks about what it means to conscientiously object to something, and points out where the Greene family fails to understand the difference between that and demanding a free handout. Lee explains that when your conscience doesn’t permit you to do something, the correct response is to live your life in such a way as not to put yourself in the unsavory situation. The Green family could avoid having to pay for birth control simply by not operating a multibillion dollar corporation. But to own this company and then ask not to have to fulfill their end of the deal is ludicrous!
Now let’s tackle the religious argument. The ruling is that employers of private companies, including incorporated ones, can refuse to provide contraceptives to their employees on the basis of religion. Specifically, it allows the boss to refuse to pay for birth control and the Morning After Pill if they believe according to their religion that it is immoral.
The 1st Amendment states, and I quote, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
This means that no law passed by congress should contain anything about religion, in favor or opposed. This does NOT mean that someone’s religious ideals can legally trump someone else’s rights.
Thanks to Zachary Hall for providing his opinion that was abridged by the editor.
The National Libertarian Party had the following to say:
In response to yesterday’s Hobby Lobby ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court, Libertarian Party Executive Director Wes Benedict made the following statement:
It’s strange that liberals and conservatives are making this ruling out to be a huge deal. All the ruling does is remove a very narrow coverage requirement, in very specific cases; 99.9 percent of Obamacare is upheld.
It’s true that closely held corporate entities should not be forced to pay for this particular contraceptive coverage. But focusing on that narrow issue misses the bigger point: No employer should be forced to provide any health coverage at all.
This ruling just draws the line between freedom and regulation arbitrarily. If these employers are free to ignore this particular mandate, why aren’t other employers free to ignore other Obamacare regulations? They should be.
Obamacare is unjust and unconstitutional from top to bottom. No employer should be forced to provide health coverage to its employees, or penalized by government if it doesn’t.
Religion is not the issue. The fact that these employers have religious motives doesn’t matter. Employers have the right to associate freely with their employees, and to come up with any mutually agreeable employment terms, whether their motives are religious, secular, generous, greedy, or whatever.
This ruling is a tiny island in a huge sea of Supreme Court rulings that have supported the federal government’s desire to regulate and control.
Libertarian Party Chair Nicholas Sarwark said, “Cutting the government requirement that birth control be purchased only with a prescription and making it over-the-counter would advance liberty by giving easier access to birth control for people who want it without putting their employer in the middle of their personal choices. Government doesn’t make men get prescriptions for condoms, there’s no reason it should make women get prescriptions for birth control pills.”
The Libertarian Party platform contains the following health care plank: “We favor restoring and reviving a free market health care system. We recognize the freedom of individuals to determine the level of health insurance they want (if any), the level of health care they want, the care providers they want, the medicines and treatments they will use and all other aspects of their medical care, including end-of-life decisions. People should be free to purchase health insurance across state lines.”
Bill Wohlsifer stated that he agrees with the Libertarian Party’s assessment of the ruling.