Contraceptive Mandate: Who has the power?

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Contraceptive Mandate

The contraceptive mandate brings together so many issues, each of which can be controversial by itself: sex, reproduction, gender, religion, federalism, and more.

Hobby Lobby store at night

What do the employees want? Their preferences aren’t at issue in this case. The chain’s owners and the high court hold the power.

One issue that hasn’t received enough attention is power. Who has the power? Who doesn’t?

This week, we’ve covered various facets of the cases before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning religious objections, by corporate owners, to the contraceptive mandate. These include the concept of corporations as persons, women’s rights versus religious rights, and differences in public opinion about the issues from the beginning of the month to just this week.

Today, we consider the issue of power. By power, my focus isn’t the power of the high court to decide these matters. It’s the age-old issue of the power of business owners versus employees. Let’s put aside the issue of religious principles. I know that’s at the heart of the matter, but let’s hold it in order to consider the issue of power.

Employees have very little power vis-à-vis the power of the business owners. Business owners make decisions and impose them on their many employees. Employees don’t have a say.

I would love to see results from an opinion poll of the employees of Hobby Lobby. What are their feelings about the contraceptive mandate? Do they want no-cost access to all contraceptive technologies, including the morning-after pill and IUD? Do they have religious objections? Presumably, some do and some don’t. Each employee has his or her own moral and religious principles that come into play when making decisions about conception and contraceptives.

But the high court will make a decision that sweeps over all employees, one way or the other. This decision might favor the will of corporate owners, or it may not—either way, the employees are voiceless.

Should the employees have a say?

Should their voices be taken into consideration?

Or, does the power reside with the corporate owners?

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