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Ruling gives businesses ploy to bypass birth-control mandate



Published: Fri, November 15, 2013 @ 12:00 a.m.

Ruling gives businesses ploy to bypass birth-control mandate

Can the birth-control man- date be challenged on religious grounds by two Catholic business owners?

Under the new federal health care law, the birth- control mandate requires businesses to provide free coverage for birth control, emergency contraception and sterilization to their employees regardless of religion.

Francis and Philip M. Gilardi, owners of Freshway Foods and Freshway Logistics in Ohio, argued against the birth control mandate since it would force them to violate their religious views.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit last week agreed with the Catholic business owners on the issue that providing contraceptives to employees would be a violation of their religious beliefs. However, the court stated that the companies did not have the right to challenge the mandate solely on religion.

What does this mean for employees’ rights?

It means that business owners such as Francis and Philip M. Gilardi can use a ploy of religion to restrict the rights of employees and avoid extra expenses to the business.

Yes, religion is an important factor in the argument represented by the two owners; however, the law is irrefutable.

A business should be able to provide free coverage for contraception to employees who have different religious beliefs than the company or owners under the law. If the business or owners did not want to provide contraceptives to employees how is that any different than rejecting employees’ rights based on their sex or religion?

It does not seem fair that the owners would not provide services to others based only on their religion. Instead, the owners should seek other resolutions to provide contraception to their employees without violating their religious ideals.

Not only does challenging the birth control mandate on religious grounds pose a threat to employees’ religious beliefs, but it prevents employees from using birth control for different medical purposes due to the costs of contraceptives.

Whether the Ohio business owners are attempting to save money for their business or protect their religious ideals, the owners should give their employees the right religiously, financially, and medically to have access to contraception.

Catherine Cooper, Youngstown


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