What About Employers Who Don't Cover Birth Control On Moral Grounds

A debate over in the BBQ Pit about pharmacists who won’t dispense emergency contraception brought to mind a similar issue. A few years ago, I was interviewed for a job by an organization which is part of the Catholic Church. During the interview, they told me that they didn’t cover birth control because of the church’s moral stance on it and asked me if I was all right with that. I said I was and that I would not expect them to cover it. There was a Planned Parenthood office down the street from them, and, if the job was all right otherwise, I would have been prepared to make other arrangements.

What’s your take on employers who don’t cover birth control because they find it morally objectionable? How about abortion? Is it different if the company covers erectile disfunction drugs but not birth control?

I don’t have a problem with it if it jibes with the company’s overall position regarding morality and how important it is. I have no problem with part of the Catholic Church not covering birth control because their stance on it is well known and part of the Catholic Church’s job is to take moral stances. By the same token, I’d understand if another church didn’t cover birth control for unmarried people. On the other hand, I’d raise my eyebrows if, say, a subprime mortgage lender refused to cover birth control on moral grounds, and I would have difficulty seeing what say a grocery store should have in my morality. I admit I don’t know if any of my employers have covered abortion under their health plans, mostly because I’ve never thought I’d need one.

I don’t think employers should be required to provide coverage for procedures they see as immoral, although I’d prefer they not act like hypocrites. To me, covering birth control makes economic sense, if only because it’s much cheaper than pregnancy. After all, if an employer has a policy I disagree with, I can always choose to work for someone else. Yes, I do realize there may still be some towns left where there’s one employer most of the town works for, although they’re a lot less common these days. Even so, one does have alternatives, although there may not be any good ones.

What do you think?

Editted to add:
By the way, if we can keep this away from the morals or lack thereof of the Catholic Church, I’d appreciate it. I realize there are people on this board who do not have a high opinion of it, and I understand that opinion. They were simply the handiest example I had of an organization that doesn’t cover birth control because of their self-proclaimed and self-defined morals.

What if your employer does not believe in modern medicine. perhaps he believes you should pray to make illnesses go away. Would he have the right to demand you do nothing when you get sick?

Even in the OP’s example, the employer didn’t demand that their employee didn’t use birh control – they merely made clear that they didn’t cover birth control in their health plan.

The analogy, then, would be to ask about an employer who doesn’t believe in modern medicine and therefore didn’t cover any modern medicine in their health care… not an employer that demanded you do nothing when getting sick.

Of course he would not have the right to demand you do nothing when you get sick…but he does have the right to enter into an agreement with you that he will not provide you heath coverage that involves paying for modern medicine.

I believe an employer has the right to offer any employment agreement that it wants to, and that a potential employee has a right to accept it or not.

I have no problem with it - although I’d expect stellar maternity coverage and benefits! :smiley: It’s especially nice that the person doing the interview told you, up front, before you agreed to take the job. Informed consent and all that. And it doesn’t matter much to me what the job is - the owner of a subprime mortgage lender could very well be a devout [Whatever] and choose to get a group policy which excludes birth control. So be it.

I have to say, I’ve never understood the outraged, “They cover Viagra but not birth control!” Um…so what? The two don’t do even remotely the same thing. One treats erectile dysfunction and the other prevents pregnancy. Except for involving the reproductive tracts, they’re totally unrelated. It would be one thing if they covered male contraceptive pills (if there were any) and not female, or male sexual dysfunction treatment and not female (if there were any). But Viagra and birth control are as related as…I dunno…insulin and antacids.

I agree with this…I don’t think the employer has to necessarily justify the reason they don’t cover birth control. As you say, the subprime mortgage lender might be Catholic himself, which would make the situation no different…he has a moral problem with birth control, and doesn’t want to subsidize it. Either which way, it’s more just a matter of a contract…you lay out your terms, I’ll lay out mine, and we decide if we can come to an agreement. The reasoning for the terms is really pretty irrelevant to the process.

I’ve had plenty of employers who didn’t cover any modern medicine – or ancient medicine. They did it on cheapness grounds – they don’t offer health insurance at all. It’s called the “Take it or leave it plan.” Also “The eat shit and die” plan.

Don’t know what it has to do with birth control, though.

I guess what I’m saying is, an employer who didn’t believe in modern medicine would just emulate some of my former employers (and my present one) and not offer any health insurance at all.

Your reasoning ignores that unequal power relationship that exists between employers and those seeking employment. You’re like one of those women who would have said, back in the 50s, “Well of course our husbands have the right to have sex with us whether we want to or not. It’s part of the marriage contract. If you don’t like it, you can always get a divorce.”

I don’t believe that the imbalance of power always favors the side of the employer. For certain professions where this tends to be the case, there are unions that help protect workers’ interests in these kinds of situations. As you point out in your previous post, employers don’t have to provide ANY coverage…usually when they do, it’s to create additional incentive for people to come and work there.

The relationship is as likely to be unequal in favor of the employee at any given time in an economic cycle, and based on the law of supply and demand for any given job or industry.

Competition for labor dictates that employers must do whatever the market requires of them to recruit and retain employees.

You’re like one of those people who has never has to hire, train and retain a work force. :dubious:

Well, ya may not believe in gravity, but there it is. I believe you are making an EXTRAORDINARY claim here. In the vast majority of cases, there are plenty of other who may be available to work at the job you’re seeking. Really, what ARE you thinking?

Oh, really?

From here: http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=13105

The article cited points out that many employers are using illegal techniques to bust unions and getting away with it with ease. Yah, them unions have power, alrighty.

Yes, and increasingly, they do not, because of the power imbalance thing I was talking about.

You’re like one of those people who’ve never had to say to his wife, “Hey, what’ll it be this week, food or your medicine? Because we can’t afford both.”

My thoughts exactly.

Your posts often have sense that you haven’t done the things you seem to know so much about. Your comments in this regard show a remarkable lack of understanding. For as long as I can remember, there has been an ebb and flow in the relatationship between employer and employee. There have been times in my industry in the last 15 years that if 1000 skilled tradesmen were bussed in to my city at 8:00 a.m. they’d all have jobs by noon. Other times, trademen were being laid off. Sometimes, an industry grows faster than entrants entering the field. With the baby boomers aging, the need for nurses is extraordinary. In many markets, nurses are being paid $5000 signing bonuses, and relocation costs paid. Some hospitals are paying the costs for alien nurses, many from the Phillipines, to get green cards or work visas.

The comment, “In the vast majority of cases, there are plenty of other who may be available to work at the job you’re seeking”, is simply not true.

I think the relationship that if you make sex more frequent through drugs you should also cover birth control as pregnancy is a likely outcome. They tend to ignore however that pregnancy is considered a desirable effect of more sex by some people and birth control is not necessary for sex.

So, you think that employers holding all the power in hiring is as much a natural law as gravity? What are YOU thinking?

The point is that unions exist for the reason of giving power to employees who normally wouldn’t have any. If unions are weakening, it may very well be because workers have more individual power than they used to. (I have no cite for this…it’s just a theory.)

Do you have a cite for that?

So, putting aside birth control, what is your opinion on employers providing health care? Do you think that should be mandated? Because if so, then the question in the OP is likely irrelevant anyway.

Well, it would certainly be wrong to use the law to correct that unequal power problem… becasue the government is so much stronger than an individual company that the balance of power between the two is completely unequal!!!1!

You act like evil businessmen have a monopoly on this thing call a “job”. You know what? If you don’t like the jobs available to you, then go the fuck out and create your own job. No one is stopping you.

Well, except for Diebolt that gets to pick the government.

::: d & r :::

On a more serious note, I do very much hope that the phrase “You’re like the. . . .” is not repeated in this thread. Aside from the way it sounds silly, it is pretty close to framing the discussion in personal terms–something that nearly always bodes ill for intelligent discussion.

This is assuming a woman is using the birth control pill to prevent pregnancy, rather than regulate her periods, reduce cramps, reduce migraines, etc.

One makes it possible for men to have sex, the other makes it possible for women to have sex. In a largely defacto sense, anyway.