Just this week the Supreme Court declared in a 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby that businesses need not be required under the ACA to provide emergency contraceptives to their employees. Under this ruling a closely held company claiming to hold a religious belief can be exempt from offering something its owners religiously disagree with. Under the ACA, companies were required under the contraceptive mandate to provide them to employees. This decision has caused a bit of a firestorm over women’s rights, the freedom of companies to do as they please, the limits of freedom of religion, etc. All of these issues are extremely important but I believe that the issue of personal responsibility is one of the most important.

Now companies do provide healthcare to their employees. Companies do have a vested interest in their employees and the interests of keeping them healthy should extend to a genuine concern for the welfare of an employee beyond maintaining staffing levels. At the same time though, why should companies be mandated to provide emergency contraceptives? Should companies also provide e-cigarettes to smokers and non-alcoholic beverages to alcoholics? No. While it might behoove a company to have fewer employees out on maternity leave for cost purposes, where does it behoove a company to baby its employees? Provide routine eye care to employees; yes. Provide contraceptives to careless employees who disregard the possible burden an unintended child might have; no.

The decision reached in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby removes the mandate on companies providing contraceptives on religious grounds. Frankly I can’t understand why such a mandate exists in the first place. Granted large sums of money are saved by the use of contraceptives when one looks at the overall expenses paid by the state for unintended pregnancies in the forms of medical care, welfare programs, education, etc. At the same time though if half of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unintended, why isn’t action taken to decrease the cost of contraceptives in the first place? Instead of at least making an attempt to address the situation of unintended pregnancies earlier on such as dealing with the costs of contraceptives, this administration prefers to have employers provide to employees what the latter failed to provide for themselves. Ultimately, bad careless decisions will still be made.

This issue in my mind is more about personal responsibility or the lack of it and with the government and its authority being used as a bailout. Initially the contraceptive mandate was ruled out for churches and other organizations that had clear religious differences. For example asking the Catholic Church to provide contraceptives is tantamount to asking parishioners to steal if necessary to provide money to the church. It’s wrong. Now in some ways such as with Hobby Lobby, the grounds for claiming religious freedom are harder to prove. Regardless I think it’s absurd. Never mind the fact that the contraceptive mandate failed to cover male contraceptives. I don’t hear the left screaming about the lack of equality.

In my family we believe in the idea that you sleep in the bed you make. You don’t expect others to bail you out for something you could’ve easily prevented and you most certainly don’t force others to do so. I’m happy that Hobby Lobby has had this victory and that the SCOTUS reached this decision. Though the issue I believe extends beyond the religious sentiments of an organization. It is a matter of personal responsibility and requiring employers to rectify issues that employees could’ve easily avoided in the first place is not the answer.

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