Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rather Than Reverse Hobby Lobby Ruling, Protect Everyone’s Right to Freedom of Conscience

The Hobby Lobby case continues to generate controversy. With some in Congress hoping to reverse the Hobby Lobby ruling legislatively, a letter titled It’s Health Care appeared in the New Jersey Star-Ledger supporting such action. It said, in part:

I believe birth control is basic health care for women. . . . The Supreme Court’s ruling places this right in jeopardy, and creates a slippery slope whereby companies may deny other coverage or services to employees based on employers’ religious convictions.

I urge lawmakers to fix the damage done by the decision and restore birth control access and workers’ religious liberty.

I left these comments:

First of all, health care is not a right. A right is a guarantee to an individual’s freedom of action, not an entitlement to goods or services that others must be forced to provide. If you believe otherwise, you are effectively promoting a form of slavery. There is a right to pursue healthcare, such as abortifacients. There is no right to “access” someone else’s wallet to pay for birth control.

Second, Hobby Lobby and like companies that refuse to cover certain types of birth control are in no way imposing infringing workers’ religious liberty. These employers’ are only acting within the confines of their own lives—in this instance, their own businesses—without violating the same rights of others. That’s the essential nature of liberty. Employees are free to pursue birth control by other means. If religious employers were to advocate laws banning the birth control methods they disagree with, that would be denying employees (and all Americans) their religious freedom (which is more appropriately called freedom of conscience).

The “slippery slope whereby companies may deny other coverage or services to employees based on employers’ religious convictions” is exactly backwards. In fact, the government’s increasing control of healthcare is the slippery slope we should all be concerned with: It’s a slope that leads to full tyranny.

Rather than “urge lawmakers to fix the damage” by killing religious employers’ right to act according to their religious convictions, we should recognize all employers’ and employees’ rights to act on their convictions, whether religious or non-religious. A good place to start is by eliminating all insurance mandates and extending employer tax benefits to individuals through Health Savings Accounts so they can buy affordable policies tailored to their own needs by contracting directly with willing insurers.

Conflicts like Hobby Lobby vs. its employees could be eliminated by eliminating the third-party-payer system, which artificially puts employers in a commanding position. Switching ownership of health insurance to individual employees, which is the case for other types of insurance like life, homeowners, and auto insurance, would put employees in a position to act on their own convictions in regard to their coverage. This is the moral course, which would protect everyone’s rights, and violate no one’s. Who but those who think the world owes them a living would object to that?

Related Reading:

Health Care is Not a Right—Leonard Peikoff

The Only Obamacare Fix Is For Obama To Legalize Real Health Insurance—Paul Hsieh

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