ASRM objects to Supreme Court Decision on contraceptive coverage

June 30, 2014Carole No Comments »

I was pleased to see that the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) released a press release objecting to the Supreme Court’s decision today to allow a for-profit corporation to decide to not provide certain types of contraceptives due to religious beliefs held by the owners. See the press release copied below:

ASRM BULLETIN  Volume 16, Number 29

June 30, 2014

 ASRM Strongly Objects to Today’s Supreme Court Decision  

 ASRM has issued the following press statement today in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Burwell v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Burwell cases.  In a 5 to 4 decision, the court ruled that closely-held firms like Hobby Lobby are protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. The law dictates that an individual’s religious expression shouldn’t be “substantially burdened” by a law unless there is a “compelling government interest.”

American Society for Reproductive Medicine Comments on Hobby Lobby Decision

Statement Attributable to Rebecca Sokol, MD, President

Monday, June 30, 2014

For more information, contact Sean Tipton on 202-421-5112 (mobile), stipton@asrm-dc.org

“We profoundly disagree with the Supreme Court’s decision today. Simply put, the moral views of a patient’s boss should have no bearing on his or her ability to access needed medical treatments. Allowing an employer to impose their beliefs about reproduction on their staffis simply wrong, particularly when those beliefs are so clearly misinformed on the scientific and medical facts.

The medical facts are clear: contraception saves lives, the use of contraception leads to healthier babies, healthier mothers and lower costs.  In no other field of medicine do we allow employers to substitute their judgment for that of patients and physician, it should not be allowed just because the subject matter is reproduction.”

Here is another instance when –because the topic is reproduction, and female reproduction at that –we make it more difficult for the individual to exercise basic reproductive rights over her own body. This ruling basically defers to the employer as to whether they want to offer contraception in their benefit plan. Yes, employees can still pay out-of-pocket if they can afford to- but  if employees aren’t wealthy or self-insured, this ruling makes it more difficult for those employes to dain access to this basic part of health care.

You might be asking- why should I care about contraceptive rights?  I am trying to get pregnant, not trying to prevent it. The reason everyone should care is because the same interests that want to intervene,  limit access or erect hurdles to easy and inexpensive access to contraception are the same interests who don’t think much of IVF, and want to limit its use or at least make sure that they don’t have to pay for it. It’s all part of the same fight for reproductive freedom and access to reproductive health care.

Maybe it’s time to reconsider having universal health care through the government and stop offering healthcare through employers. Employees should not have to consider and accommodate their employer’s every religious belief just to get fundamental healthcare. And what is more fundamental than the autonomy to decide when and how you will start and expand your family?

© 2014, Carole. All rights reserved.

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