Target: Federal Judge Joe Heaton
Goal: Applaud court ruling that supports workers’ right to contraception coverage
Recently, a federal judge ruled that the Hobby Lobby store chain must offer its 13,000 employees contraceptive coverage without a co-pay.
The conservative evangelical owner of Hobby Lobby, David Green, had filed a federal lawsuit in order to deny the coverage based on his personal religious objections to certain forms of birth control that fall under the scope of Obamacare’s contraception mandate. In particular, the Green family had sought to deny coverage for the morning after pill, also known as Plan B. The lawsuit said, “the Green family’s religious beliefs forbid them from participating in, providing access to, paying for, training others to engage in, or otherwise supporting abortion-causing drugs and devices.”
However, Hobby Lobby is not a religious organization—it’s a craft store. No federal court has ever concluded that secular, for-profit corporations have a constitutional right to exercise freedom of religion in the same way religious organizations do. This is what U.S. District Judge Joe Heaton declared when he denied the Green family’s request to deny its workers contraception coverage. In fact, at least one judge has sided with religious employers of a private company over providing contraception (a mandate in President Obama’s healthcare bill) to employers. This is not a proper assessment of the law, however; non-profit religious organizations are exempt from the mandate, but private businesses are not.
Despite the clarity of the law, some judges will continue to side with businesses that attempt to deny essential medical coverage like birth control to their employees. Progressives must applaud the judges who stand by the law and ensure that rights of workers are upheld. Thank U.S. Federal Judge Joe Heaton for ensuring worker contraception coverage by private businesses is upheld, regardless of religious beliefs.
Dear Judge Joe Heaton,
I am writing this letter to applaud you for your lawful assessment of a case regarding the religious freedom of a private corporation.
You recently ruled in a federal case that the craft store chain, Hobby Lobby, does not have the legal right to deny contraception coverage to its 13,000 employees. This is in accordance with previous federal court rulings regarding the constitutional protection of the exercise of religious freedom for private companies. The freedom to exercise religious beliefs belongs to religious organizations, not for-profit corporations. Hobby Lobby belongs to the latter category, and is thus not entitled to such protection.
This is an important ruling because the law very clearly protects workers from having their rights taken away because of their employers’ personal beliefs. American workers have the right to contraceptive coverage and Hobby Lobby (as well as any other business) cannot deny this on the grounds of religious expression. I thank you for ruling in favor of this legal precedent, even when your contemporaries sometimes fail to do so.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: patheos.com