A Victory for Women: Employer Can't Use Its Religion to Deny Birth Control Coverage for Its Employees

On Friday, a district court in Missouri rejected a case brought by a mining company challenging the federal birth control rule that requires employer health plans to cover contraception without a co-pay.  The Missouri case is one of 30 pending, and it is the first case to be dismissed on the merits.  It’s a tremendous victory for women, particularly those employed by the mining company. 

The court decisively rejected the claim that the birth control rule infringes on the mining company owner’s religious beliefs.  The court found that the rule does not prevent the company’s owner “from keeping the Sabbath, from providing a religious upbringing for his children, or from participating in a religious ritual such as communion.”  Those religious practices are different from contributing to a health plan that an employee might use to obtain contraception.  This “indirect financial support” of someone else’s possible behavior is not a burden on the company owner’s religious beliefs. 

Importantly, the court also recognized that religious liberty claims cannot be used as a “means to force one’s religious practices upon others.”  That is exactly what the company’s owner was trying to do.  We are pleased that the court rejected an attempt to use religion to discriminate, and we hope that the courts in the other cases do so as well.

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Anonymous

“Those religious practices are different from contributing to a health plan that an employee might use to obtain contraception. This “indirect financial support” of someone else’s possible behavior is not a burden on the company owner’s religious beliefs. “
Yes it is. The company owner is being coerced* by
governmental mandates that directly violate his conscience.
*Coercion ( /koʊˈɜrʃən/) is the practice of forcing another party to act in an involuntary manner (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats or intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. In law, coercion is codified as the duress crime. In jurisprudence, duress or coercion refers to a situation whereby a person performs an act as a result of violence, threat or other pressure against the person. Black's Law Dictionary (6th ed.) defines duress as "any unlawful threat or coercion used... to induce another to act [or not act] in a manner [they] otherwise would not [or would]". Duress is pressure exerted upon a person to coerce that person to perform an act that he or she ordinarily would not perform.
“Importantly, the court also recognized that religious liberty claims cannot be used as a “means to force one’s religious practices upon others.” That is exactly what the company’s owner was trying to do.”
No that is not what the employer’s case was about. No force exists from the employer. The force exists from the state onto the employer.
The employer’s case is not against the employee, but against coercive action by the state against the employer.
The decision by the court sets an extremely dangerous precedent. If the state mandates laws that deny individual civil liberties for the greater good of society, as it solely defines that good, we begin to dismantle our rights under the Constitution and mirror exactly how Hitler gained complete control over the people of Germany—it was through legal precedents for the greater good of Germany and one segment of that population—the Aryans.

“We are pleased that the court rejected an attempt to use religion to discriminate, and we hope that the courts in the other cases do so as well.”
Religion was not a tool used to discriminate. Rather, it was the employer’s religious liberties that were being discriminated against by the state in forcing, by fiat, statutes with no basis in Constitutional law to coerce the employer into conduct directly or indirectly that he finds repellent.
The employee argument is a logical fallacy. It is the tool used by the state to coerce the employer. No rights of the employee are being violated. The employee is already free to get contraceptive devices.
To force someone else to acquiesce is a human rights crime. They were compelled to acquiesce in a government which they did not regard as just.
De Quincey.

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