OCCC students and professors are voicing their opinions on the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Hobby Lobby v. Burwell case.
The Oklahoma-based company has been at the epicenter of controversy after a Hobby Lobby victory in Washington, D.C. in which the Supreme Court ruled that Hobby Lobby will not be forced to pay for certain birth control devices and medications the company’s owners believe violate their religious beliefs. These include Plan B and intrauterine devices.
It has sparked outrage as well as praise across the country, depending on who you ask, and continues to beg the question over who or what is considered a person in America.
“Privately owned corporations should be able to set their own company policies based on religious beliefs,” said OCCC engineering student Spencer Hill, 19. “However, if a corporation is composed of multiple shareholders, religious beliefs must not be involved in company policy in order to give each shareholder an equal part in said corporation.”
Political Science Professor Joncia Johnson the ruling opens a door where all religions must be considered. She said if Hobby Lobby only attracted employees with the same beliefs, it wouldn’t be as controversial, but the company attracts employees from different religions.
“If you are going to have an exception for a family-held corporation that is against family planning or something to its likening, then what if it is a Scientologist who does not believe in pharmaceutical coverage, a Muslim who objects to pills made out of gelatin, or whatever your belief,” Johnson said.
There also are some who believe this decision is not as controversial as it seems — that the argument lies in that the ruling only applies to for-profit companies based on religious principles and takes into consideration only the medications and devices specifically named by Hobby Lobby in the suit.
“The effects of this ruling, both long and short-term, will be rather minimal, said Political Science Professor James Davenport. “The Supreme Court’s ruling, as most of them are, was rather limited.”
Davenport said the Court’s ruling stated that Hobby Lobby is not required to abide by laws if the law violates the owners’ religious beliefs and there is another way to accomplish the goal. He said the government has alternatives for women who want one of the four medications exempted from the mandate, or they can purchase them without insurance.
For more information on the ruling, visit www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/13-354_olp1.pdf.