As the Supreme Court of the United States weighs the debate over the Affordable Care Act mandate for for-profit businesses to provide birth control, we can’t help but delve into the common sense debate. While religious conservative business owners have been outraged over being forced to provide birth control — there have been more than 90 legal challenges and two have made their way to the Supreme Court — it’s hard to imagine that there is any argument over this at all. The basis of their contention, specifically when it comes to the privately held employer Hobby Lobby that has taken their case to the Supreme Court, is that intrauterine devices and the morning-after pill are considered to be methods of abortion, which goes against their religion.
While arguments have been made about the fact federal laws that ban funding for abortions do not consider these methods to be abortion, that the morning-after pill is about ovulation before the implantation in the uterine wall and therefore the woman is not pregnant, and IUDs that work to prevent the sperm from getting to the egg and/or from implantation of a fertilized egg, still everyone has the right to believe whatever they want about anything, really. But when it comes to reproductive health, bosses need to stay out of their employees’ bedrooms — it’s absolutely none of their business. Regardless of bosses overstepping their bounds, the reality is birth control prevents unwanted pregnancies as well as abortions. Isn’t that the point of this whole debate?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010, 765,651 legal induced abortions were reported from 49 reporting areas. Compared to 2009, the total number of reported abortions for 2010 decreased 3 percent. From 2001 to 2010, the number of reported abortions was on a downward trend while the number of women on birth control was on the upward trend — and continues to be. While Hobby Lobby owners and others contest that certain birth control causes abortions, isn’t it better to avoid clinical abortions than what they perceive to be morning-after pill and IUD abortions?
Even better news, from 2007 to 2011, the birth rate in the U.S. for females aged 15–19 years declined 25 percent. Isn’t a conservative argument that if you can’t afford to take care of a child, then a woman shouldn’t get pregnant in the first place? What teenager can afford to take care of a child? It seems like a logical argument but still these religious bosses continue to deny the facts and what actually works to prevent pregnancy. If they had it their way, women wouldn’t have sex until they were ready to have children. This notion is unrealistic in today’s society.
We hope that the Supreme Court Justices don’t turn the clock on 60 years of progression for women’s reproductive health, but only time will tell. We do hope they take note of the recent national survey that showed 69 percent of Americans support the mandate. Regardless of what they decide, we hope that business owners, religious or otherwise, aim to mind their own business and continue to add to the downward trend of unwanted pregnancies and abortions, thanks in large part to birth control.