Hannah C. Smith: Trump gives relief to religious Obamacare objectors

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  • Ranch Here, UT
    Oct. 11, 2017 6:03 p.m.

    "...achieving the common-sense balance that religious organizations have sought for the past six years. These revisions allow religious nonprofits — like the Little Sisters of the Poor — to avoid millions of dollars in fines because their employee health insurance plans exclude coverage for contraception,..."

    --- Talk about twisting the truth out of all recogition! All that was required of Little Sisters was to sign a teensy piece of paper saying they objected. That was all. Oh how hard is that!

    Hanna Smith completely ignores the fact that employees PAY premiums and therefore should have a right to decide which options THEY need in their coverage; instead she believes that companies beliefs should determine the health care needs of the employees AND supercede the beliefs of the employee.

    "The case for forcing religious employers to provide contraception coverage was always thin."

    --- Actually, the case for allowing religious employers to FORCE their employees to accept the businesses beliefs has always been thin.

    "The revised rules are a major, immediate victory for religious freedom,"

    --- No, they VIOLATE the religious freedom of the employee.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 5:56 p.m.

    There is no such thing as a free society. All living things are governed by natural laws and by created governments such as political, religious, parental, strength, and many other organizations, groups and even our own personal assessments.

    For human beings, the best governments are those that take away freedom to do harm to others, while allowing as much freedom as possible to the individuals. When freedom is apportioned out according to race, gender, membership or a thousand other man made reasons, it is called destructive discrimination. Destructive discrimination will always result in conflict and revision to the discrimination rules.

    You can't have freedom without the rules against discrimination. Destructive rules such as those imposed upon non members will eventually bring down the organizations that made the rules.

    Businesses that try to impose rules that do not adhere to the promises made in the Declaration of Independence are not supportive of the American nation.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 4:49 p.m.

    @J Thompson "Who pays? Shouldn't the person paying have the CHOICE to decide which products or services he is BUYING? In a free society that would be the case. "

    Yes, but we have BOTH an employer and employees. Under any insurance I know of both are paying. Moreover the employees help generate capital for the employer. So what is covered should be NEGOTIABLE.

    So I don't necessarily support one-size-fits-all setups so long as labor has a fair representation. We could solve a whole lot of these problems if we actually had industrial democracy, e.g. unions, where labor has a voice.

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 4:34 p.m.

    @unrepentant progressive: "all the hubbub on this Obamacare issue involves a woman's right to choose not only abortion but also birth control. If this does not say just how misongynistic the country really is, I don't know what ever will."

    Actually, what it shows is where the misguided, militant left has chosen to pick their fights. If an employer choses an insurance plan that doesn't cover birth control for men (condoms, surgical sterilization) nobody complains. Men fully expect to pay for their own condoms and who would raise a ruckus over male employees not having insurance coverage for vasectomies? Ditto if an insurance plan didn't cover Viagra or other ED treatments, male pattern baldness treatment, etc.

    The left focuses a lot on a "woman's right" to choose. They seem to care very little about the rights of the employer, of an unborn baby, or even of the man in an intimate relationship.

    A woman has every right to buy whatever form of birth control she likes that is legal. She has no right to force anyone else to buy it for her. If she (or a man) doesn't like the benefits offered by one employer, she is free to take her skills to a different employer.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 3:28 p.m.

    Without meaning any disrespect or insult, may I ask a very simple question? Who pays? Shouldn't the person paying have the CHOICE to decide which products or services he is BUYING? In a free society that would be the case. Are you making the case that America is NOT a free society and that government has the right to force us to buy whatever those who are in power at that time decide we should have to buy?

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 1:00 p.m.

    What really irritates me about the writer's position is its complete focus on the interests of the employer, in the case the Little Sisters. It is the writer's position that only the interests of the employer must be addressed, not the interests of the employees.

    This gets to the fundamental conservative view of employment which is: the employer retains full property rights over the product. This despite the fact the employees do most of the work. The employees mingle their labor with the capital of the establishment, but gain no property rights over the product whatsoever. This is one of the great evils of capitalism. The people doing the work should have some shared title over the product and some say over the distribution of the profits, in this case the provisions for health care.

  • patriot Cedar Hills, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 12:57 p.m.

    Trump has saved Christianity from the godless left. The first amendment survives because of Trump. Hillary would have destroyed it.

  • J Thompson SPRINGVILLE, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 11:55 a.m.

    Why would we think that when a political party which has a platform plank requiring anyone running on the Democrat ticket to publicly uphold abortion, would that party and its followers would just roll over when Americans demand the right to practice their religion by NOT paying for anything under the guise of insurance that mocks life or destroys life? 60,000,000 unborn babies have been put to death. California has 39,000,000 people. Almost twice as many unborn babies have been destroyed as the total number of people living in California.

    When an individual owns a business that person has the right to practice his religion by NOT paying for birth control or morning after pills for his employees. When a corporation owns a business the board of that corporation has the right to exercise their right to practice religion by NOT paying for birth control for their employees.

    Government cannot interfere with our right to practice our religion. When a choice has to be made, the government's only choice is to not interfere with our guaranteed freedoms.

  • unrepentant progressive Bozeman, MT
    Oct. 10, 2017 10:42 a.m.

    Interesting that all the hubbub on this Obamacare issue involves a woman's right to choose not only abortion but also birth control.

    If this does not say just how misongynistic the country really is, I don't know what ever will.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 8:15 a.m.

    Actually, Hobby Lobby owners don't oppose birth control, they oppose abortion. Their objection was to "morning after pills" which prevent fertilization. Hobby Lobby believes they are abortifacients, though Obamacare specifically excludes coverage for abortifacients.

    (Hannah Smith is a member of the Deseret News editorial advisory board)

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Oct. 10, 2017 8:03 a.m.

    religious and moral objectors to the contraception mandate and common sense don't belong in the same sentence.

  • 1aggie SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 8:03 a.m.

    U.S. women should go on strike.

    Refuse to have sex until/unless they're reproductive needs are treated like normal healthcare needs.

  • Utah Health Policy Project Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 10, 2017 7:18 a.m.

    Jehovah's Witnesses have a strongly-held and well-documented religious objection to blood transfusions. Does that mean that companies owned by followers of that faith can refuse to pay for health insurance coverage that includes blood transfusions during surgeries or after blood loss during deliveries? The latest changes from the Trump administration are silent on this. From a medical perspective, there is little difference between blood transfusions and birth control that is used to stop or regulate heavy periods, PCOS, or a host of other medical conditions--including pregnancy. Also, the maternal mortality rate for childbirth in the U.S. is 26.4 per 100,000 live births, and three times more than any other developed nation.

  • Daedalus, Stephen ARVADA, CO
    Oct. 10, 2017 6:47 a.m.

    More of the "membrane" distortion of corporate personhood resulting from the absurd Hobby Lobby decision.

    Bad as it is, at least Citizens United stretched reason without fully breaking it, deriving constitutional rights for non-human corporations from the aggregation of the individual rights of shareholders.

    Hobby Lobby established a radical new theology. Closely-held corporations 'practice' religion, as separate adherents in their own right. Presumably they share the same religion as a majority of shareholders, but not necessarily. In fact. a board of directors owes the shareholders a duty to act in the best interest of the business, which could justify choosing and then switching religions as often as needed to optimize profits by avoiding regulatory compliance costs.

    Hobby Lobby is what now allows owners to shield their personal assets from liability using the corporate form, but assert their own (real or fictional) religious rights up and through that same corporate barrier.

    Hobby Lobby turned what was once a sturdy and fair wall into a one-way membrane that favors business interests, all under the guise of a 'win' for 'religious freedom'.

  • Desert Suburbanite Mesa, AZ
    Oct. 10, 2017 12:18 a.m.

    @The Educator

    "So you're making abortions harder to get..." Consider that abortions are disproportionately performed in minority communities, one can make the argument that abortion on demand is an form of racist genocide.

    "You're eliminating comprehensive sex education in the schools..." Comprehensive sex education has mixed results.
    Kohler, Pamela & Manhart, Lisa & E Lafferty, William. (2008). Abstinence-Only and Comprehensive Sex Education and the Initiation of Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy. The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine. 42. 344-51.

    "And now employers no longer have to provide birth control?" Surely $4-$8 a month for generic contraceptives isn't going to break a full time worker financially.

    "How are these data driven decisions? Do we want unplanned pregnancies and STDs to explode?"
    According to the CDC, 1.4 million reported cases of chlamydia, a rate of 456.1 cases per 100,000 population, is up 2.8 percent since 2013. Rates of primary and secondary (P&S) syphilis – the most infectious stages of syphilis –and gonorrhea have both increased since 2013, by 15.1 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively.

  • SMcloud Sandy, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 11:54 p.m.

    So if my boss is a Jehovah's witness, can they refuse blood transfusions?
    If my boss is a Scientologist, can they refuse mental health treatment?
    If my boss is a Christian Scientist, can they refuse healthcare entirely?

    We need to remove healthcare from employers and create big pools that you buy into. Our healthcare system is such a mess.

  • Desert Suburbanite Mesa, AZ
    Oct. 9, 2017 11:53 p.m.

    @Marxist - "Health care should not be tied to employment."

    Surprise! Mark Bertolino, the Chairman of Aetna agrees with you and has advocated a direct-to-consumer health insurance business model for years.

    But, your logic fails on this statement. "If a woman is in a health plan with Little Sisters, but then has to go elsewhere to get a contraception prescription..." She is not going to have to see another physician. Her regular family practitioner or OB/GYN is perfectly free to prescribe drugs to her that the insurance plan does not cover. This happens more than you think with the rise of generic drugs. So what happens is our hypothetical patient goes to Walmart, or Target, or another store that has a "$4" generic formulary and gets her contraceptive for $4 to $8 dollars a month, which could actually be less than the co-pay for other prescriptions. It's an expense that anyone who has a job that offers insurance can afford.

  • Millenial Snow Sandy, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 11:50 p.m.

    We need to untie our insurance from our employer. It is none of my boss's business if I am on birth control to control ovarian cysts.

    Your right to religious freedom ends at your own fingertip.

  • Desert Suburbanite Mesa, AZ
    Oct. 9, 2017 11:31 p.m.

    The whole "forcing beliefs on employees" is a fallacious argument. With few exceptions like the Military, employers can't tell you how to behave when off the clock. If anyone is getting beliefs forced on them it is the religious orders like the Little Sisters of the Poor, and personally owned businesses that are owned by people who believe that birth control is wrong. And they are getting those beliefs forced on them by the government.

    Contraceptive and abortfacient drugs are not being taken off the market by this rule change. But let's be honest, it doesn't cost that much to buy prescription contraceptives. The cost for basic birth control pills starts at $52 dollars a year. That's one less large soft drink a week from McDonald's or one less coffee a month from Starbucks. Generic Levonorgestrel starts at about $20 a dose. (That's a 'morning after' pill if you were wondering. ) Perhaps you should worry more about other important issues like the growing tribalism in our society and not get worked up about people having to shell out a dollar or two a week for elective (mostly) pharmaceutical therapy.

  • The Educator South Jordan, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 10:21 p.m.

    So you're making abortions harder to get...

    You're eliminating comprehensive sex education in the schools...

    And now employers no longer have to provide birth control?

    How are these data driven decisions? Do we want unplanned pregnancies and STDs to explode?

    Get Educated

  • NoNamesAccepted St. George, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 7:17 p.m.

    No individual business owner should be forced to violate his religious principles if the worst thing about those beliefs is that they require the person to avoid some positive act.

    Outlawing constructive harm to others is appropriate. No sensible person actually expects that religion is a defense against murder, rape, theft, assault, etc. But nobody should want to force the person to engage in conduct he finds immoral. Avoiding conduct is very different than hurting others.

    No different between doing business on his Sabbath, selling products he finds offensive, or buying employee benefits that offend him. Should a Jewish or Muslim business owner be required to provide his employees with a Christmas ham? So why should a Catholic or Evangelical business owner be required to provide his employees with birth control?

    The answer is revamp the tax code to encourage private purchase of health insurance rather than encouraging businesses to provide this as an untaxed benefit.

    Those who think having a private boss in charge of healthcare really don't want government in charge. Eventually, someone you really dislike will be running government and you'll have no other options.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 5:58 p.m.

    Health care should not be tied to employment. Period.

    But since we can't seem to get there, we have to deal with situations like this one. Understand contraceptives are not aspirin. They must be taken under the care of a doctor. If a woman is in a health plan with Little Sisters, but then has to go elsewhere to get a contraception prescription this can create problems, like coordinating between physicians in different health organizations. This is supposed to be easy, but isn't. Understand also that contraceptives are used for a variety of medical conditions.

    This is more erosion of the rights of labor in employment.

  • The True Open Minded Mormon Draper, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 5:23 p.m.

    "Better yet, take health care away from employers entirely. It's none of their business."

    Agreed!!! It should be just like car insurance, you sign up for what you want and it's not tied to employers. Outstanding idea!!

    ps, universal health insurance isn't the answer.

  • Frozen Fractals Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 4:41 p.m.

    All Little Sisters had to do under Obama was sign a waiver form to be exempt from providing the coverage.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 4:17 p.m.

    John Charity Spring said: "The issue is whether religious organizations can be forced to violate their religious principles. The Constitution says the answer to that question is: No."

    Does a business belong to a religion, can it belong to a religion?
    Why do businesses separate personal liability, as if the business is a separate entity from the owner and or owners personal property?

    Why should they be able to separate personal from business to protect their money/liability, but wish to use religious dogma as a business model, if it can benefit their bottom line?

  • The True Open Minded Mormon Draper, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 4:11 p.m.

    No business should be forced to cover anything they choose not to. It's their plan and they can put in it what they deem worthy to attract employees. If it isn't good enough, no one will apply.

    Simple. Force has never been the answer folks.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 4:09 p.m.

    Trump gives distress to people by allowing their employer to make decisions affecting them based exclusively on religion.
    Prometheus has the right idea. If an LLC or PLC separates you from corporate liability, why should religion cross that line?
    Better yet, take health care away from employers entirely. It's none of their business.

  • mcclark Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 4:04 p.m.

    I can understand why some people are against allowing abortions. I don't agree with their reasoning but I can understand why they feel that way. But for the life of me I can't understand why anyone would be against birth control, it just does not make any sense to me. As far as your religion goes, believe anything you want, just don't try to impose it on others.

  • John Charity Spring Back Home in Davis County, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 3:25 p.m.

    Whether or not birth control is good or bad is not the issue here. The issue is whether religious organizations can be forced to violate their religious principles. The Constitution says the answer to that question is: No.

    Nobody here is saying that people can't obtain and use all the birth control they want. This only means that religious organizations do not have to fund birth control so their employees can behave like a bunch of Russian princesses.

    Government should protect the right of employees to contract with their employers as to compensation packages. That is what is being done here.

  • marxist Salt Lake City, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 3:15 p.m.

    With respect to the employer - employee relationship Little Sisters of the Poor is an employer, and as such should not receive treatment different from any other employer.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 3:11 p.m.

    IMO, Donald Trump is emulating the actions you would expect from a person in the employee of a foreign government who wishes to destroy the American nation.

    His actions to further divide America by removing the implied Constitutional freedom of individuals in favor of Constitutional freedom for Organized Religion, in this case a business operation, will further the oppression of the little people. Oppression of the people has brought the downfall of every nation in history and yet we don't learn the lesson.

    Freedom is not infinite, it only exists as a shared agreement between individuals and their governments. When freedom is taken away from one group and given to another, the concept of freedom is void and null. Governments are expected to take away freedoms which harm individuals, because doing so creates freedom for all people. Taking person freedom from individuals that does not harm others to further the goals of business is wrong, wrong, wrong.

  • Impartial7 DRAPER, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 2:50 p.m.

    Groups with names like "Religious Liberty for All", associated with "Focus on the Family" and "The Heritage Foundation" , etc, are misnomers. You can bet that their agenda is to force Americans to live by their beliefs. It's in opposition of American values. The D-News should rethink publishing their agenda.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 2:06 p.m.

    Hannah again puts institutional interests before the rights of individuals. The Constitution was intended to protect personal liberties. Here an institution can impose its views on individuals. Hannah, you are dead wrong on this.

  • Prometheus Platypus Orem, UT
    Oct. 9, 2017 2:01 p.m.

    Awe, so your boss, a business owner, has the right to decide what your religious rights should be, but you as an employee just have to accept their "religious teachings" no matter what your religion is?

    If a business uses it's right to separate the owner of the business from liabilities created by the business, why should a business be able to force its religion onto employees, when the business is clearly and legally separate from the owners religion?

    More red meat for the base.